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Photo of James Schauer
April 20, 2017

Schauer to lead Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene

Written By: Käri Knutson

James Schauer, a faculty member with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Water Science and Engineering Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been named director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

“I am proud to have been part of the WSLH and UW–Madison for almost 20 years,” Schauer says. “I look forward to working with the WSLH staff, the Wisconsin DHS and DNR, local government units across Wisconsin, and other WSLH partners across UW–Madison and the state of Wisconsin to advance the public health and environmental protection mission of the laboratory.”

The lab was established at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1903. The director, who reports to the vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health, serves as the executive officer of the laboratory and provides strategic and visionary leadership in analytical services, research, teaching and outreach, as well as policy issues impacting public and environmental health in Wisconsin.

“We are fortunate to have someone with his experience in the field as well as someone who is familiar with UW–Madison and its many partners,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Under his leadership, we will continue to strengthen those partnerships and advance the work as a state-of-the-art public health laboratory.”

The WSLH fosters partnerships with academic departments by performing vital human and environmental health research and providing education and training in the areas of clinical, environmental and occupational health and safety. Its mission is to improve and protect the human condition by providing accurate and precise testing, service, research and education.

A nine-member committee, co-chaired by Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Chair Andreas Friedl and Waisman Center Director Albee Messing, selected Schauer for the position.

“In Dr. Schauer, the committee selected an internationally known expert in air quality who has a broad understanding of public health,” Friedl says. “Dr. Schauer also has a strong record of leadership in academia and of consensus building between government and private partners.”

Schauer succeeds Charles Brokopp, who served as director from 2006 until his retirement in 2016. Peter Shult, director of the WSLH communicable disease division, served as interim director.

Schauer will begin as director June 1.