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The American Society for Microbiology honors Ellen Jo Baron

Ellen Jo Baron, Ph.D., D(ABMM), Professor Emerita, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, has been honored with the 2012 ASM Founders Distinguished Service Award for her years of volunteer service to ASM. "For as long as I can recall during my career in clinical microbiology, Baron has been the heart and soul of my profession," says Wm. Michael Dunne, Ph.D., Executive Director of Research and Development, North America, for bioMrieux, Inc., Durham, NC.

Baron holds a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Microbiology and Laboratory Medicine at UCLA and the Wadsworth Veterans Affairs Medical Center. At Stanford, Baron served as Director of the Clinical Microbiology and Clinical Virology Laboratories and Associate Chair of Pathology for Faculty Development and Diversity in the School of Medicine. Baron is currently Director of Medical Affairs for Cepheid, a high-technology molecular diagnostics company in Sunnyvale, California, where she writes the On-Demand Newsletter and works on clinical trials, new test development, and publications involving Cepheid products. She serves as an internal and external educator about the technology and its impact on patient care.

Baron's numerous contributions to ASM encompass a vast variety of programs. "Baron is one of those unsung treasures of ASM; she has worked diligently for the society, both locally and nationally, for over 35 years," describes nominator Fred Tenover of Cepheid. Baron has served as Chair of ASM's largest scientific division, Division C (Clinical Microbiology), and is now the Divisional Representative for Group 1. In addition, she is a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She has also been involved at the branch level, has served as a volume editor for four editions of the Manual of Clinical Microbiology, and has promoted the field of clinical microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students throughout the United States and the world. "I am in awe of her energy and her tireless efforts to not only promote ASM, but to promote the field of Medical Microbiology and to ensure a minimum standard of excellence in clinical laboratory practice throughout the world," says Karen Carroll, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In addition to her extensive service to the ASM, Baron has also volunteered her time to many other entities. She is a past microbiology representative on the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee, and served for almost 10 years on the Council of Clinical Advisors for the NIH Clinical Laboratories. Baron has been on the editorial boards of several key clinical microbiology journals, has written or edited over 30 books and chapters, and is widely published in peer-reviewed journals in the area of diagnostic microbiology and infectious diseases (with over 100 publications). She is a past recipient of ASM's bioMrieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology and the Alice C. Evans Award for serving as a role model for women in the field. She won the Kenneth L. Vosti Teaching Award from the Infectious Diseases Division at Stanford, and is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Baron currently serves as a representative on the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute's Microbiology Area Resource Committee.

Baron is also very active in the field of diagnostic microbiology as a symposium presenter and author. For the World Health Organization, she co-developed the program for antimicrobial resistance monitoring and basic microbiology, which she presented in a number of resource-poor countries from 1995-1998 and again in 2005. In 2007, Baron developed a new basic microbiology training program for developing world sites, which has been presented in Colombia, Laos, Cambodia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, China, Panama, and El Salvador, as well as in the U.S. This program is supported by grants from the Mrieux Foundation, Pan-American Health Organization, and ASM's LabCap Committee. The program will eventually be used throughout the entire developing world. Baron is Secretary-Treasurer of Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program, a non-profit organization that she co-founded to support microbiology laboratory development in the resource-limited areas of the world.

"In short, I can think of no one more deserving of an award for outstanding volunteer service, and for dedication to the pursuit of the goals of the ASM, than Baron," summarized Carroll. "She truly embodies the spirit of our discipline."


Contact: Garth Hogan
American Society for Microbiology

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