Feb. 15, 2012
Michael Osterholm, internationally known epidemiologist and science advisor to state and national government agencies, will speak at Luther College on Thursday, Feb. 23 about his avocation: restoration and protection of the cold water trout streams of the Driftless Plains Region of northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota.
Osterholm will speak at 9:40 a.m. in Room 206 of the Valders Science Hall on the Luther campus. Titled "A Perspective on the Future of Coldwater Stream Restoration in the Driftless Area," the program is open to the public with no charge for admission.
Best known for his work as director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Osterholm has done extensive restoration work on Brook Creek, a cold-water trout stream on property he owns in Allamakee County, Iowa. A native of Waukon, Iowa, he is an active member of northeast Iowa's Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Sponsored by the Luther biology department, Osterholm's presentation at Luther will provide students and area residents with insights on how well designed and successful restoration projects have implications for dealing with erosion damage along the region's waterways, including the Upper Iowa River which flows through the Luther campus. The college and the Decorah community have been damaged by major flood events three times in the past 20 years, and coldwater stream restorations in the region's watersheds can significantly affect flood events.
Osterholm's restoration work on Brook Creek was the focus of a feature published in the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette "Green Gazette" edition in November 2011. Orlan Love environmental reporter for the Gazette described the seven-year Brook Creek project that transformed a "ditch through a cornfield" into a tall grass prairie stream that now supports a population of brook trout, Iowa's only native species of trout
In addition to his duties as director of CIDRAP, Osterholm is a professor in the University of Minnesota Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, and an adjunct professor in the UM Medical School. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences and the Council of Foreign Relations.
In 2005 he was appointed to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. In 2008 he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics.
From 2001-05 Osterholm served as a special advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. He was also appointed to the Secretary's Advisory Council on Public Health Preparedness.
Previously, Osterholm served 24 years in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health, the last 15 as state epidemiologist and chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section. While at the MDH, Osterholm and his team were leaders in the area of infectious disease epidemiology.
Osterholm has been an international leader in preparedness for an influenza pandemic. He has also been an international leader on the growing concern regarding the use of biological agents as catastrophic weapons targeting civilian populations. He provides a review of America's state of preparedness for a bioterrorism attack in his New York Times best-selling book "Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe."
The author of more than 315 papers and abstracts, including 21 book chapters, Osterholm is a frequently lecturer on the topic of epidemiology of infectious diseases.
He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Defense, and the CDC. He is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.