At next week’s Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women, Loreen Herwaldt, MD, professor in Infectious Diseases, will be presented with the May Brodbeck Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty, one of two awards given at the University of Iowa-sponsored event. The May Brodbeck Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments or a lifetime record of service as a role model for women and girls. The award’s namesake was a professor of philosophy and served as the university’s vice president for academic affairs for nearly a decade. Brodbeck “expanded the program of faculty developmental leaves, placed the Women’s Studies program on a firm footing, and in general, improved the place of women in the academic world by example, by encouragement, and by administrative achievement.”
In that sense, Herwaldt is a fitting recipient for recognition. Marin Schweizer, PhD, associate professor in General Internal Medicine, wrote in her nomination letter, “Dr. Herwaldt has made a lasting impact both in Iowa and internationally through her research, mentoring, clinical service, and community service.” An expert in the field of infectious diseases, Herwaldt has demonstrated excellence in each aspect of the academic medical mission. She has made breakthroughs and offered insights across more than 140 peer-reviewed publications, particularly in the field of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), from mitigation of legionella in hospital water systems to her more recent work on preventing surgical site infections and in improving the design and use of personal protective equipment by healthcare workers.
Herwaldt has been well-funded in her research in her 35 years at Iowa and is currently principal investigator of a 5-year, $3.5M grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which designates the University of Iowa one of eleven “CDC Epicenters.” Under her supervision, the grant, similar to a program project grant, funds seven different infection control projects involving multiple multidisciplinary teams, two of which Herwaldt leads herself. These projects aim at a variety of goals, including improved antibiotic stewardship, mobile surveillance for HAI after patient discharge, and novel methods for analyzing PPE use.
In education, Herwaldt has been a leader for all in the department and beyond as director and organizer of our weekly Grand Rounds presentations. Her leadership was especially beneficial when the pandemic first arrived at Iowa, quickly reforming the presentation schedule to solicit experts who could provide practical advice as well as add an hour of calm and competence to a chaotic period. Schweizer also details Herwaldt’s work as an educator on a more personal level. “She has gone out of her way to introduce me to other international leaders” in the HAI field. “It is amazing how she balances a thriving research career, clinical service, and community service.”
In advance of the Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women event, Herwaldt recorded a brief thank-you message to the committee members and her nominators.