The author

Laurie Garrett wrote her first bestselling book, THE COMING PLAGUE: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, while splitting her time between the Harvard School of Public Health and the New York newspaper, Newsday. In the 1992-93 academic years Garrett was a Fellow at Harvard, where she worked closely with the emerging diseases group, a collection of faculty concerned about the surge in epidemics of previously unknown or rare viruses and bacteria. The book was published in hardcopy by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 1994, and spent 19 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Released in paperback in 1995 by Viking Penguin, THE COMING PLAGUE remains in print and continues to sell vigorously. The book will be released in e-book form in May 2011.

During the 1990s Garrett continued tracking outbreaks and epidemics worldwide, noting the insufficient responses from global public health institutions in Zaire, India, Russia and most of the former USSR, Eastern Europe, and the United States. This resulted in publication in 2000 of BETRAYAL OF TRUST: The Collapse of Global Public Health, released by Hyperion that year, and in paperback in 2001. BETRAYAL OF TRUST was also a vigorous seller, and remains in print today. It will also be released as an e-book in May 2011.

In Summer 2011 , Garrett’s long-awaited third book, I HEARD THE SIRENS SCREAM: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks, was published in time for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 by Amazon as an e-book.


In 2004, Laurie Garrett left Newsday to join the think tank staff of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. She now runs the Council’s Global Health Program, and serves as the Senior Fellow for Global Health. Garrett has written several reports and articles including: HIV and National Security: Where are the Links?, A Council Report (Council on Foreign Relations Press, 2005), "The Next Pandemic?" (Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005), "The Lessons of HIV/AIDS" (Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005), "The Challenge of Global Health" (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007), The Future of Foreign Assistance Amid Global Economic and Financial Crisis, A Council on Foreign Relations Action Plan (2009), and CastroCare in Crisis (Foreign Affairs July/August 2010). Learn more about Laurie's work at CFR on their website.

The "Public Intellectual"

Dr. Declan Fahy of Dublin City University presented the following abstract at the Public Communication of Science and Technology conference in Istanbul in April 2016 -- "Knowledge-based reporting of global infectious diseases: The pioneering journalism of Laurie Garrett:"

"I explain in this paper how Pulitzer Prize-winning American health journalist Laurie Garrett became one of the world's most influential and authoritative writers on global infectious diseases. 

I take Garrett as a case study of what journalism scholar Thomas Patterson and communication researcher Wolfgang Donsbach have called knowledge-based journalism. That is, journalism that applies one or more fields of specialized knowledge to the coverage of complex events, such as pandemics, in order to enhance citizens' understanding and influence policy on these new social threats.

To demonstrate how Garrett came to undertake this form of journalism, I examine the key moments of her career from the 1980s, when she first reported on the new disease of AIDS for the newspaper Newsday, to her most recent journalism on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in her role as Fellow at the US think tank, the Council for Foreign Relations. 

Using methodological approaches from cultural and intellectual history, I analyze chronologically her news reports, books - The Coming Plague (1995), Betrayal of Trust (2000) and I Heard the Sirens Scream (2011) - policy reports and social media activity to show how she came to offer a unique, authoritative perspective on global infectious disease. I also situate these texts against the a historical background, where the new field of emerging infectious diseases (EID) developed in the 1990s as a new scientific framework for understanding novel threats such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, bird flu, and Ebola.

I argue that Garrett's work is pioneering in that it offers an original way to conceptualize the work of a health journalist. I argue also that her work shows, in practice, how a knowledge-based reporter can come to wield enormous influence in the public, political, and scientific understanding of health."

The link to the abstract can be found on the PCST conference website.



Laurie Garrett

Senior Fellow for Global Health
Council on Foreign Relations
Author, Lecturer, Policy