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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, May 18, 2007

State lab gets new boss

By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff

Maybe Al DeMaria can finally get a little rest now.

DeMaria has been holding down multiple jobs at the Department of Public Health: the state's director of communicable disease control, chief medical officer and head of the State Laboratory Institute in Jamaica Plain. DeMaria's is a well-known face at the agency and on TV, especially when viruses or bacteria go on a rampage.

Now, the lab, which analyzes blood samples and other material taken from patients, is getting a full-time director -- and DeMaria is getting a break.

In June, the veteran chief of a comparable lab in Iowa will become director of the 113-year-old Massachusetts facility, which would play a pivotal role in the event of a global influenza epidemic or amid a biological or chemical threat. Mary J.R. Gilchrist, director of the University of Iowa's Hygienic Laboratory for the last 11 years, is a nationally recognized microbiologist and author of more than 100 textbook chapters and other publications.

DeMaria will continue -- perhaps better-rested -- as disease chief and medical director at the health agency.

Posted by Karen Weintraub at 11:13 AM
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