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Town Hall Meeting Speakers


When Food Bites Back: Act Locally, Control Nationally
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
2:00–3:00 pm (EDT)

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Speakers' Biographies


Photo of Benjamin Silk, PhD, MPHBenjamin Silk, PhD, MPH  

Staff Epidemiologist, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases, CDC

Benjamin Silk, PhD, MPH, is a commissioned officer with the US Public Health Service, assigned as a staff epidemiologist to CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. His areas of focus include the surveillance and epidemiology of Listeria monocytogenes infection (listeriosis), and other foodborne and invasive bacterial diseases.

Dr. Silk has more than 15 years of experience in public health surveillance, field epidemiology, and applied research related to infectious disease prevention and control. He has worked in health departments at the state and local levels for a wide range of communicable disease programs.

Dr. Silk received his MPH from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and his PhD in epidemiology from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. He completed training as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer assigned to the Respiratory Diseases Branch at CDC.

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Photo of Hugh Maguire, PhDHugh Maguire, PhD
Microbiology Program Manager, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Laboratory Services Division

Hugh Maguire, PhD, is the microbiology program manager in the Laboratory Services Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He is responsible for coordinating the activities of the programs’ four work units: Molecular Sciences, Serology, Public Health Microbiology, and Environmental Microbiology. His current interest is in the application of molecular diagnostic methods to food safety surveillance programs and to outbreak response.

Dr. Maguire earned his PhD in microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. He earned his MS and BS in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma.

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Photo of Melissa Cumming, MSMelissa Cumming, MS
Senior Epidemiologist, Division of Epidemiology and Immunization, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Melissa Cumming, MS, is a senior epidemiologist in the Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In 2007, she was the lead epidemiologist investigating the outbreak of Listeria cases associated with pasteurized milk from a local dairy. She joined the division 13 years ago, and since 2007, Cumming has been the zoonotic disease project lead, focusing on surveillance and investigation of rabies, arbovirus, and tickborne disease. Her interest areas include transfusion-transmitted disease, as well as tickborne co-infections.

Cumming earned her master’s degree in environmental health with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics from Tufts University.

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