MSU’s Downes Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Frances Pouch Downes, Michigan State University professor in the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics (BLD) Program and the College of Human Medicine Public Health Division, was the recipient of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. She received her award during the APHL Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, N.Mex., on June 8.
“This is the highest honor that our public health organization awards. I am shocked and honored by this announcement,” said Downes, who joined the BLD faculty in 2011. “Volunteering as an elected officer and a subject matter expert with APHL has been one of the highlights of my career.”
The award recognizes individuals who have established a history of distinguished service to APHL, made significant contributions to the advancement of public health laboratory science or practice, exhibited leadership in the field of public health and/or positively influenced public health policy on a national or global level.
“This award shouldn’t come as a surprise,” said John Gerlach, BLD director. “Dr. Downes has built her career around civic stewardship at the local and global levels. Her commitment to this, embodied in her continued activism to the cause, has earned her this recognition. The Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program is grateful she joined our faculty, and we join with others on campus to congratulate Frances on this award.”
Prior to joining MSU, for 12 years Downes was director of the State Public Health Laboratory and administrator of the Bureau of Laboratories at the Michigan Department of Community Health. She was president of the Association of Public Health Laboratories from 2008-2009 and served on its board from 2004-2012. She was recently appointed as one of two external members of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Quality Council. Downes was previously a laboratory representative to the CDC Scientific Advisory Board and served on federal advisory committees to address microbiological safety of food, and tuberculosis control. She is also a member of the American Society for Microbiology and other state and local professional organizations.
Her interest in global health stems from her Peace Corps Volunteer work in Zinder, Niger, in West Africa. She also worked in Burundi, Jamaica and Botswana, and provided program development input to the World Health Organization on network development and tuberculosis testing.