Ruth Berkelman, MD

Professor Emeritus

Faculty, Epidemiology


  • MD, Harvard University, 1977
  • AB, Princeton University, 1973


Ruth Berkelman is a professor emeritus at Emory University. As the Rollins Professor of Epidemiology and Preparedness, she founded and directed the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research.  

After pediatric and internal medicine residencies, Ruth began her career in public health as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She became Director of CDC's Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance Studies, led efforts in AIDS surveillance for the country,  and then served as Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, retiring as an Assistant Surgeon General in 2000. Ruth led CDC's effort in emerging infectious diseases in the 1990s, privately and publicly, urging vigilance towards the ever-changing, ever-adapting microbial world. 

Elected to membership, Ruth is an active member of the National Academy of Medicine,  the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Epidemiological Society. She has chaired the Public and Scientific Affairs Board of the American Society of Microbiology and CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors for Infectious Diseases. She has served on multiple boards and committees, including the National Biodefense Science Board (by HHS appointment), the Board of Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences and the Princeton University Board of Trustees.  

Ruth is currently active with active with coronavirus research and prevention activities at the local and national level, and a member of external advisory boards at several universities. She is also serving as a member of the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies.


  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Disease
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response


  • Parr A, Whitney EA, Berkelman RL, 2014, Legionellosis on the Rise: A Review of Guidelines for Prevention in the United States, J Public Health Manag Pract , ,
  • Berkelman RL, Le Duc JW. , 2014, Culture of Responsibility, Science, ,
  • Berkelman RL, Cassell GH, Whitney EA, Keshavjee S., 2014, Shifting Gears to Control Drug-resistant Tuberculosis, Clin Inf Dis, ,
  • Brzozowski AK, Silk BJ, Berkelman RL et al, 2012, Use, location and timeliness of clinical microbiology testing in GA for select infectious diseases, J Public Health Manag Pract, ,
  • Berkelman R, 2012, HIV/AIDS: Focus on the Test and Treat Strategy , Journal of Public Health Policy , ,
  • Berkelman, R., Sullivan, P. and Buehler, J. , 2009, "Public Health Surveillance"., In: Oxford Texbook of Public Health, Oxford University Press \ 5th edition, ,
  • Neil K , Berkelman R., 2008, Legionellosis, 1990 - 2005: Changing Epidemiologic Trends, Clin Inf Dis , 47, 591-599
  • Berkelman, R.L., Cassell, G., Specter, S., Hamburg, M., Klugman, K., 2006, The "Achilles Heel" of global efforts to combat infectious diseases (Letter), Clin Inf Dis, 42, 1503-1504
  • Berkelman, R.L. and Klugman, K. , 2005, The emergence and resurgence of bacterial infectious diseases. In: (eds. Hausler WJ, Sussman, M), Topley & Wilson's Microbiology and Microbial Infections, Tenth Edition, 1,