Dr. Roberta Barnes Carey '71

Director, Laboratory Quality Management Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In her role as director of the Laboratory Quality Management Program and interim director of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Roberta Barnes Carey is responsible for oversight of the quality management system for the CDC infectious disease laboratories. 

Carey joined the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC as chief of the Clinical and Environmental Microbiology Branch in 2004, with responsibility for the reference laboratory overseeing identification and characterization of staphylococci and the anaerobic bacteria, detection of antimicrobial resistance and the investigation of healthcare associated infections. In that capacity, she served as acting director for the Division of Laboratory Systems, which provides technical and scientific oversight for the CLIA regulations that set the federal quality standards for the nation's clinical laboratories. 

After graduating from William Smith College with a cum laude degree in biology, Carey received a Ph.D. in microbiology from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York, N.Y., and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical and public health microbiology at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa.  She has been a diplomat of the American Board of Medical Microbiology in Public Health and Medical Microbiology since 1985. 

She has previously held the position of technical director of the Pediatric Microbiology Laboratory at The University of Chicago Wyler Children's Hospital; director of microbiology and immunoserology at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill.; and associate professor of pathology and director of microbiology at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill.  As director of microbiology she was responsible for all facets of the diagnostic microbiology laboratory, as well as teaching medical students, infectious disease fellows, and pathology residents the practice of clinical microbiology.  

Carey served as a member of the interdisciplinary workgroups that wrote the CDC guidelines for the diagnosis of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli and the CDC guidelines for the prevention of early-onset group B streptococcal infections. Currently, she is serving as a member of the workgroup creating guidelines for Campylobacter Best Practices for Clinical and Public Health Laboratories.

An active volunteer for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Carey began her work for the non-profit scientific society in 1984 as a member of the manpower planning committee, and has held numerous positions in the society including a member of the council policy committee, Division C chair, and Division I group representative. She was responsible for the 1999 and 2004 ASM benchmarking surveys for workload and vacancy in clinical microbiology laboratories and currently serves as the editorial board member to Lab Tests Online. 

Carey co-authored the 2008 textbook, "Medical Microbiology for the New Curriculum: A Case-Based Approach." She has presented more than 150 lectures and symposia at regional, national and international meetings. At the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in May 2013, she will be honored with the 2013 bioMerieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology. This award, given in memory of Alexander Sonnenwirth, recognizes an outstanding microbiologist for promotion of innovation in clinical laboratory science, dedication to ASM, and the advancement of clinical microbiology as a profession. As an active member of ASM for more than 30 years and a leader in her field, Carey showcases the meaning of the award.