“What public health is is a trust... between the government and the people.” —AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST LAURIE GARRETT

About the Division

The Office of the Director consists of 10 key functional units that enable the State Hygienic Laboratory to achieve its statutory charge set forth in the Iowa Administrative Code in four areas: scientific, consultative, applied research, and education and training.


Christopher Atchison

Dear friends,

One of the first things I am asked to do as we begin preparation of the State Hygienic Laboratory’s annual report is to suggest a theme. This year I decided to get a head start on that assignment by looking back over the themes we have adopted over the last nine years since I’ve been director, and I found something remarkable. Each year has been characterized by some kind of change. We have seen focus on transition, on discovery, on momentum. Even last year’s theme of partnerships was intended to promote new collaborations and initiatives. So I decided this year’s theme will be the reality of a Continuum of Change. And given all that is occurring in science, policy and leadership, it seems a most appropriate topic.

Certainly public health is no stranger to change. I started my career in public health as HIV/AIDS was exploding in public consciousness. It was a time when a new understanding of the social dimensions of disease was made apparent. Over the intervening years we have experienced the unexpected episodes of terrorism, the all-too-frequent occurrences of natural disasters and the emergence of other resurgent or novel diseases. In response, we have also seen the upgrading of our public health facilities, the discovery of new technologies, and the development and implementation of new strategies to best address the changing reality. The role of science and of its laboratories has been critical to achievement. This annual report will capture some of those accomplishments and point to promising future developments.

As I write this, I am approaching my 32nd year in state public health practice. For someone who had no understanding of public health when I was an undergraduate, it has been a remarkable career. In the words of the iconic sportscaster Jim McKay, I have experienced “the thrill of victory” as we have discovered agents causing disease outbreaks, and “the agony of defeat” as we continue to see significant disparities in health outcomes.

Through it all I am empowered by advances in public health science and strategies. Now I look ahead to more change coming from genomics revealed through laboratory advances and envision the ability of precision medicine and public health to dramatically impact the rates of all diseases, chronic as well as infectious. There is promise in the Continuum of Change that hopefully continues to mark the advancement of public health as a societal imperative.

Christopher G. Atchison, Director

MISSION: The State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa protects and improves quality of life by providing reliable environmental and public health information through the collective knowledge and capabilities of our organization.

Coralville lab

UI Research Park
2490 Crosspark Road
Coralville, Iowa 52241-4721
Phone: 319.335.4500
Toll Free: 800.421.IOWA
Fax: 319.335.4555
STAFF: 159

Ankeny lab

Iowa Laboratories Facility
2220 South Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, Iowa 50023-9093
Phone: 515.725.1600
Fax: 515.725.1642

Lakeside lab

1838 Highway 86
Milford, Iowa 51351-7267
Phone: 712.337.3669
Fax: 712.337.0227

Year at
a Glance


Revenue and