Stephan Monroe, PhD, has been appointed CDC’s first associate director for laboratory science and safety. He has served as acting associate director for laboratory science and safety since May 2015. Reporting to the CDC director, he will lead agency-wide laboratory science and safety initiatives and improvement efforts, including high-level oversight and coordination of critical laboratory policies and operations that emphasize laboratory safety and quality management.
"The American people count on CDC to work 24/7 to protect their health and laboratory science and safety are critical components of our work," says CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. "Dr. Monroe brings critically important experience to further strengthen science and safety across all CDC labs."
Monroe’s established leadership experience and groundbreaking scientific research make him an ideal choice to lead CDC’s new Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety (OADLSS, proposed). With over 150 laboratories and over 2000 world-class scientists at CDC, Monroe believes it is important to increase consistency across all of CDC; he understands the scientific and safety needs required to further strengthen CDC’s culture of safety in its laboratory work. Informed by his time as the acting ADLSS, Dr. Monroe has announced three top priorities for the office: patterns, practices, and people.
•Patterns: looking at notifications of laboratory incidents at CDC to identify patterns that may have broader impact on laboratory safety
•Practices: identifying best practices related to laboratory science and safety, and promoting their use across the agency
•People: recruiting and retaining the strongest talent to fill key positions for the new office
Monroe previously served as deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). His other leadership positions include director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology and director of the Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, where he was responsible for managing the safety and scientific quality of laboratory work within these groups. As a laboratory scientist for decades, he played a key role in the formal classification of astroviruses and the development and implementation of real-time polymerase chain reaction assays to detect and characterize noroviruses.
A world-class expert in the biology and molecular epidemiology of enteric viruses, Monroe has co-authored more than 130 scientific manuscripts and book chapters and frequently serves as an ad hoc reviewer for scientific journals. He holds a doctorate degree in molecular biology from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Iowa State University.
Monroe is deeply committed to excellence in laboratory science and safety. As acting associate director, Monroe has:
•Convened laboratory safety leaders across HHS to strengthen cross-agency sharing of best practices and leveraging resources to improve laboratory safety within the Department
•Reviewed best practices of accredited government laboratories to inform efforts to expand external accreditation of CDC laboratories
•Led a series of meetings with CDC laboratory staff to gain input on needed actions
•Held a forum for CDC lab staff focused on rapid, accurate incident notification
•Completed an electronic-tablet implementation pilot project to gain efficiency in checklist procedure documentation and quality management.