Maryn McKenna is an independent journalist and author who specializes in public health, global health and food policy. She is a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and the 2013-14 Knight Science Journalism Project Fellow at MIT, and was recently named recipient of the 2013 Byron H Waksman Award for Excellence in the Public Communication of Life Sciences.
She is a blogger and contributing writer for Wired, a columnist and contributing editor for Scientific American, and writes frequently for national and international magazines and websites including Medium, Nature, Modern Farmer, Slate, SELF, The Atlantic, the Guardian, and China Newsweek. Her work has also appeared in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, More, Health, RageMag.fr, MSNBC.com, CNBC.com, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Boston Magazine, Chicago Magazine, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Heart Healthy Living and Georgia Trend, among other publications.
She is the author most recently of SUPERBUG: The Fatal Menace of MRSA (Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2010), on the international epidemic of drug-resistant staph in hospitals, families and farms, which won the 2013 June Roth Memorial Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the 2011 Science in Society Award given by the National Association of Science Writers. Her previous book is BEATING BACK THE DEVIL: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (Freee Press/S&S 2004), the first history of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, for which she embedded with the corps for a year. BEATING BACK THE DEVIL was named one of the Top Science Books of 2004 by Amazon.com and an "Outstanding Academic Title" by the American Library Association. She is working on a new book about food production for National Geographic.
As a newspaper reporter, she worked for 10 years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she was the only US journalist assigned to full-time coverage of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She reported from the Indian Ocean tsunami and from Hurricane Katrina, as well as from Southeast Asia, India, Africa and the Arctic, and embedded with CDC teams on Capitol Hill during the 2001 anthrax attacks and with a World Health Organization polio-eradication team in India.
Previously, she worked for the Boston Herald, where stories she co-wrote on illnesses among veterans of the first Persian Gulf War led to the first Congressional hearings on Gulf War Syndrome, and at the Cincinnati Enquirer, where her stories on the association between local cancer clusters and contamination escaping a federal nuclear weapons plant contributed to a successful nuclear-harm lawsuit by residents. She was also previously a staff member at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy of the University of Minnesota.
Maryn has been an Ochberg Fellow of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University; a Media Fellow with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; and a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. She has also served short fellowships at Harvard Medical School and the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families at the University of Maryland. In 2006, she was an inaugural Health Journalism Fellow of the East-West Center in Honolulu and is now an Associate of the Center and teaches other journalists in its programs in Asia.
She is a cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, has a master’s degree with highest honors from Northwestern University, and is the recipient of numerous journalism awards.