The Driver

The Driver award is given to an individual who has identified a creative solution that fills a gap in critical resources.

A leader in protecting Iowa’s environment and public health since 1904, the State Hygienic Lab (SHL) serves all of the state’s 99 counties through disease detection, environmental monitoring, and newborn and maternal screening. In its early years, SHL tested for typhoid, diphtheria, rabies and tuberculosis. Today, the lab quickly responds to infectious disease threats, including mumps, whooping cough, salmonella and global threats such as COVID-19, HIV, and tuberculosis. Its mission has also expanded to address bioterrorism and chemical terrorism response. An Environmental Protection Agency-certified facility, the Laboratory conducts testing of drinking water and also works with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to monitor waterways for contaminants and to assess air quality in real-time and through lab testing. The State Hygienic Laboratory’s main facilities are headquartered on the University of Iowa’s Research Park campus in Coralville. Additional testing facilities are part of the Iowa Laboratory Facilities in Ankeny. The Laboratory monitors water quality through a collaborative agreement between Lakeside Laboratory in Iowa’s Great Lakes Region.

Interview with Dr. Michael Pentella