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Former lab head protests termination

Public health expert was fired after complaining about lab cutbacks, judge denies her whistleblower protection

Susan Warner
Former director of Iowa's state public health laboratory Mary Gilchrist, who was fired in a dispute with University of Iowa administrators over cutbacks to the size of a new lab, plans to continue her legal fight for reinstatement even after a judge last month refused her emergency request for protection as a whistleblower.Gilchrist's attorney, Pat Ingram, told The Scientist Gilchrist will pursue a full jury trial to reclaim her job in a case that has raised questions about the state lab's capacity to handle a major outbreak of disease."Lab capacity is just like everything in public health. It's not appreciated until there is an outbreak and then it is too late," said Gilchrist in a telephone interview with The Scientist from Cairo, where she is working on a project for the Institute of Medicine. In October Gilchrist was fired after she complained repeatedly about the university administration's decision...

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