Michael Osterholm to deliver Dr. David J. Roslien Distinguished lecture

In today's world, people, animals and materials move around the planet in record numbers and speed. These same advances that make modern infrastructure so efficient have made epidemics and even pandemics inevitable; and as outbreaks of Ebola, MERS, yellow fever, Zika and influenza have demonstrated, the planet is woefully underprepared for the fallout.

Luther College will host Michael Osterholm, University of Minnesota Regents Professor and McKnight Endowed Presidential chair in Public Health, for the first Dr. David J. Roslien Distinguished Lecture in Science and Leadership at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on the Luther campus.  

Osterholm's lecture, "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs," is open to the public with no charge for admission. His critically acclaimed book by the same title was published March 14.

Osterholm will also sign books before his lecture from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life lobby. Copies of his book, "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs," will be available for purchase at the Luther College Book Shop and at the book signing.

Drawing on the latest medical science, case studies, policy research and hard-earned epidemiological lessons, Osterholm explores in detail the resources and programs that are needed to keep human and animal populations safe from infectious disease. The possibility of a reality in which many antibiotics no longer cure, bioterror is a certainty, and the threat of a disastrous influenza pandemic, looms ever larger. Only by understanding the challenges present can the unthinkable be prevented from becoming the inevitable.

The Dr. David J. Roslien Distinguished Lecture in Science and Leadership brings internationally recognized individuals who have made major impacts on society and the quality of the environment through their use of cutting edge science and global leadership in policy and programs. This endowment brings the best and brightest minds to the Luther campus to dialogue with the community and engage with faculty and students in classrooms, forums, small group discussions and a formal campus-wide lecture.

Roslien was a professor in the Luther College Biology Department from 1965 to 1980, and then served in a number of senior administration roles at the college from 1980 to 2000. These included interim president, vice president for College Advancement, executive vice president and dean for Admissions and Financial Aid/Student Financial Planning.

Osterholm's vast knowledge and experience of epidemiology and infectious disease has made him a world leader in preparing for, reacting to, and preventing outbreaks. In addition to his academic leadership and faculty roles, he serves as a frequent advisor to governments and organizations around the world, and as an investigative leader on the front lines on some of the world's most serious infectious disease outbreaks and bioterrorist activities.

Osterholm is also the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences-School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute-College of Science and Engineering. And an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. He serves as a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Council of Foreign Relations.

From 2001-2005, he served as special advisor to then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and was appointed to be his representative on the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In June 2005, Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the HHS, to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. He is a 1975 graduate of Luther College and now serves on the college's Board of Regents.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,150, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.