Dr. Lackritz is a medical epidemiologist with extensive experience in public health and epidemiology research, policy, and programs in the areas of infectious diseases, maternal-child health, and emergency response. Prior to CIDRAP, she served at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva as the Zika Task Force Lead, followed by clinical service roles as Hospital Director for Médecins Sans Frontières in the Rohingya refugee camp and medical director of the Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital in South Dakota during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to her work with the WHO, Dr. Lackritz served as deputy director of the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) at Seattle Children’s. With the knowledge that preterm birth is the leading cause of infant mortality, she advanced global research initiatives with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate novel targets to prevent biological triggers of preterm birth and adverse pregnancy outcomes, as well as strategies for safety monitoring of maternal immunizations in low-and middle-income countries. Dr. Lackritz had a 23-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she served 7 years as branch chief of the Maternal and Infant Health Branch. She worked the previous 10 years with the CDC’s global HIV/AIDS programs, including implementation and evaluation of the first national AIDS treatment programs in Africa, clinical trials of antiretroviral therapy, and studies of HIV transmission by blood transfusion. She led a study in Uganda that identified that HHV-8, the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, was transmitted by blood transfusion. This discovery led Dr. Lackritz and colleagues to receive CDC’s prestigious Shepard Award for the greatest contribution to science. She also served 5 years in the CDC’s Malaria Branch, conducting epidemiologic and clinical studies of malaria, anemia, and child survival in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Lackritz has served as a technical expert and adviser to the US Department of Health and Human Services, to the Surgeon General, in Congressional hearings and briefings, and for numerous national and international organizations. She has also served as a consultant to Kenya and Tanzania following the bombing of the US embassies. She has received multiple US Public Health Service awards for her leadership and service addressing domestic and international public health threats. Dr. Lackritz received her MD from the Ohio State University and completed her residency in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve/University Hospitals of Cleveland.