Rutala receives Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumni Award

William A. Rutala, PhD, MPH, was honored by the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health with this prestigious award for alumni at a ceremony preceding the annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture on April 17.


Rutala recieves Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumni Award
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William Rutala, MS, MPH, PhD

An internationally recognized expert in decontamination and sterilization, Rutala has dedicated his career to reducing risk of infections for hospitalized patients and researching ways to disinfect the hospital environment and sterilize medical and surgical instruments.

Rutala is director of hospital epidemiology at UNC Health Care and professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC School of Medicine.  He also directs the N.C. Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology (SPICE), an influential program responsible for training 99 percent of all infection preventionists working in acute care facilities in North Carolina.

Established in 1975, the Barr award recognizes the achievements of alumni and their contributions to public health. The award is presented to an outstanding alumnus who is working full-time in public health.

The selection criteria include demonstrated:

  • Commitment and service to public health through achievements in leadership, innovation, experimentation and collaboration within the profession.
  • Impact within the nominee's practice arena.
  • Outstanding service beyond the requirements of the nominee's employment.


The award carries the name of its 1980 recipient, the late Harriet Hylton Barr, to honor her contributions to public health.  Barr, who earned her MPH from UNC in 1948, dedicated 28 years of service to the School.  She was a clinical associate professor in the department of Health Behavior and Health Education and she was the School's first director of alumni affairs.