Laura Harrington, PhD

Posted 14 September 2017

2018 Councilor candidate

Laura Harrington, PhD
Cornell University, NY  
Personal Statement
As Councilor, I will strive to represent our society and be a strong advocate for government funding for global health research and training.  Specifically, I plan to focus on three issues of importance to the society.  These issues are: (1) Fostering career development and leadership potential of this next generation; (2) Advocacy-working to increase government funding for global health R&D through member and Society advocacy efforts;  and (3) building ASTMH capacity by enhancing the Society’s ability to influence key audiences.
  • Fostering career development and leadership potential of this next generation. As Councilor, I will work to promote and improve the society’s efforts in training and education. This area has been a passion of mine throughout my time as an ASTMH member. I’m a strong advocate of continuing our education and networking events such as speed-networking, grant writing and Meet the Professors’ sessions. I would also consider working to develop sessions on job interview skills, dual career issues, managing a research laboratory, and specific issues for women and minority trainees.
  • Advocacy-working to increase government funding for global health R&D through member and Society advocacy efforts. Through my career I have become a resource for media and government on vector-borne disease issues. I understand strategies for communicating a strong message to policy makers and will strive to represent our Society in this capacity.
  • Building ASTMH capacity by enhancing the Society’s ability to influence key audiences.    
I believe we can do more to engage our trainees and general membership in advocacy at multiple levels. For example, we could develop an Op-Ed campaign for members that includes providing training on writing a highly effective Op-Eds. If even 10% of our membership became involved and wrote pieces for their local news outlets, we would reach a meaningful proportion of readers, including those at local government levels and those who may not be reached by national media outlets. Another way to raise awareness of ASTMH and advocacy while engaging our up-and-coming membership is via live tweeting events where a group of members provide real-time fact checking and commentary on legislation, presentations, documentaries or films of interest. Twitter can be a powerful platform for real-time discussions, to clarify questions about tropical diseases and global health.
Overall, as your Councilor, I would work hard with the leadership team to continually improve our society, our advocacy and the opportunities we provide for our membership.
Summary of Volunteer/Member Roles in ASTMH
Laura Harrington has been an active ASTMH member since 1998. She and members of her program have attended and presented their research at the ASTMH meeting annually since 2001.  She even supports Cornell undergraduate students to travel and attend the Annual Meeting.  Harrington is a member of two of the Society’s subgroups ACME (medical entomology) and ACAV (arbovirology) and has organized several meeting symposia. She has served the Society as a member of the Education Committee (2007-2016), Young Investigator Award Judge (2015), and the Kelly Labell Award Committee (2013).  Harrington has participated in a variety of events at the Annual Meetings, including serving as a faculty mentor, facilitating a Latino trainee coffee hour, a Young Investigator Award competition judge, a speed-networking participant, and as a Roundtable host for Career Development in Tropical Medicine and Health. Professor Harrington was an ACME Executive Councilor from 2001-2006, where she was instrumental in developing the first ACME student travel award (2002) and chaired the Hoogstraal Medal Award Committee (2003-2004), and the International Award for Achievement in Medical Entomology, 2003-2004. In 2016, she was re-elected to the ACME Council.
Biographical Information
Dr. Harrington is Professor and former Chair of the Department of Entomology at Cornell University.  She earned a PhD in Entomology in 1999 from the University of Massachusetts and completed Postdoctoral training at the University of California at Davis.  Professor Harrington became interested in global health issues and vector-borne diseases after living and working for several years in rural Thailand. She contracted both dengue and malaria while living abroad and realized the impact these infections have on children and adults in resource poor nations. Her research focuses on the biology, ecology and behavior of mosquitoes that transmit human diseases. Current research projects in her laboratory address the feeding and mating behavior of mosquito vectors of dengue fever, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, malaria, human and animal-mosquito interactions and the role of climate change and globalization on emerging vector borne diseases such as dengue, zika and chikungunya viruses.  Dr. Harrington studies mosquito biology in the field locally as well as abroad, with past or present field sites in Thailand, Tanzania, and Mexico. Harrington leads the CDC supported Northeast Regional Center for Vector Borne Diseases, working with colleagues to bridge the training and education gap between academia and public health, develop practical solutions for controlling vectors and minimizing disease risk, and train the next generation of medical entomologists.  She offers courses in Medical and Veterinary Entomology (ENTOM 3520), a non-majors course, Plagues and People (BIO&SOC/ENTOM 2100), she teaches the malaria module of Introduction to Global Health (NS 2060), and she has developed courses with international service learning formats (ENTOM 4100: Malaria Interventions in Ghana and ENTOM 4110: Health Care in Honduras). 
Harrington mentors undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of entomology, ecology and evolutionary biology, comparative biomedical sciences, biomathematics, general biology, animal science, and biology and society. She has been honored with numerous awards including a 2010 Cornell Provosts Award for Distinguished Scholarship and, in 2016, she was named a Cornell Weiss Presidential Fellow in recognition of her outstanding contributions to education. Harrington regularly serves as an expert resource for media and for state and federal government.  Professor Harrington has published 70 peer reviewed articles, 3 book chapters; many of these have focused on the biology and behavior of Aedes disease vectors.  Her research has been supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health, Gates Foundation, NOAA, USDA and CDC.  More information is available on her website