Debbie Kuehl has over 25 years of experience working in or in support of laboratory sciences with a focus on policy and quality. She currently works for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease (NCIRD) as the acting Associate Director for Laboratory Science (ADLS). As ADLS, Debbie provides advocacy and oversight to the Center’s laboratory activities.
Prior to working at CDC, she was a medical technologist for Quest Diagnostics in the Microbiology Department. Debbie began her career at CDC in 2001 when she joined the HIV laboratory, where she worked in the clinical lab and then moved to the non-HIV retrovirus lab where she managed the daily operations for the team. In 2006, the International Laboratory Branch recruited Debbie to lead them to accreditation by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the first CDC laboratory to achieve this recognition of quality. Additionally, her international work in support of Global Aids Program countries included assisting the CDC Uganda laboratory in Entebbe with achieving their goal of CAP accreditation and the National Laboratory in Guyana with achieving their accreditation goals.
In 2008, Debbie moved to the Division of Laboratory Science and Standards where she led several collaborative efforts to create educational materials on good laboratory practices for patients, health professionals, and laboratories. In 2011, she accepted a detail as the Associate Director for Policy within the Division of Laboratory Policy and Practice (DLPP) which had oversight over the CDC long-term specimen storage facility (CASPIR), the technology transfer office, FDA compliance, select agent compliance, and laboratory training. While working for DLPP, Debbie collaborated with the Office of Sustainability to co-lead the 2012 CDC Freezer Challenge which resulted in a savings of over $127,000/year in operating costs and a reduction of energy use by more than 3220,000 kWh, equivalent to the yearly energy consumption of 36 single family homes. In 2017, she worked with collaborators outside of CDC to hold the North American Freezer Challenge which was highlighted in Nature. The group expanded to the International Challenge for 2018.
Debbie became the ADLS for the Division of Bacterial Diseases from 2014 to 2017, when she moved to the Center to serve as the deputy ADLS for NCIRD.
Debbie is an active member of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, where she vice-chairs the Expert Panel on Quality Management Systems that oversees several Quality Management document development committees. She was the CDC Employee of the Month in January 2013, CDC Sustainability Star in August 2013, winner of the 2012, 2017, 2019, 2020 HHS Green Champions awards, 2021 Government Innovation award, and 2013 Presidential GreenGov award.