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College of Public Health Advising

Tara C. Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor - Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences & Epidemiology

Ph.D, Microbiology, University of Toledo, 2002. BS, Yale University, Biology, 1998

Dr. Smith joined the faculty of Kent State University College of Public Health in August 2013. An Ohio native, she previously  was a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa, College of Public Health, where she directed the College’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases. She completed post-doctoral training in molecular epidemiology at the University of Michigan prior to beginning her professorship at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Smith’s research generally focuses on zoonotic infections (infections which are transferred between animals hand humans). She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the United States, and has pioneered the investigation of this organism in the U.S. She has received over $3 million in funding from AHRQ, USDA, and NIOSH to carry out these studies. Dr. Smith has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. She has presented her research at numerous national and international platforms, including talks on Capitol Hill on the topic of agriculture and antibiotic resistance. Her work has been profiled in many publications, including Science magazine and The New York Times.

Dr. Smith is also very active in science communication and outreach. She has maintained a science blog for 8 years, and has written 3 books on infectious disease topics. She also writes about infectious disease for Slate.com.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications (full list is available at http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=HVCDscEAAAAJ&hl=en) :

  1. Carrel M, Schweizer ML, Sarazin MV, Smith TC, Perencevich EN. Residential Proximity to Large Numbers of Swine in Feeding Operations Is Associated with Increased Risk of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization at Time of Hospital Admission in Rural Iowa Veterans. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(2).
  2. Smith TC, GebreyesWA, Abley MA, Bayleyegn M, Harper AL, Forshey BM, MaleMJ, Martin HW, Sreevatsan S, ThakurS, ThiruvengadamM, DaviesPR. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in pigs and farm workers on conventional and antibiotic-free swine farms in the USA. PLoS ONE, 8(5):e63704, 2013.
  3. Frana TS, Beahm AR, Hanson BM, Kinyon JM, Layman LL, Karriker L, Ramirez A, Smith TC. Isolation and Characterization of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus from Pork Farms and Visiting Veterinary Students. PLoS ONE, 8(1): e53738, 2013.
  4. Moritz E, Smith TC. Risk of Staphylococcus aureus carriage in childcare employees. Epidemiology and Infection, in press, 2013.
  5.  Price LB, Stegger M, Hasman H, Aziz M, Andersen PS, Pearson A, Waters AE, Foster JT, Schupp J, Gillece J, Driebe E, Liu CM, Larsen J, Springer B, Zdovc I, Battisti A, Franco A, Żmudzki J, Schwarz S, Butaye P, Jouy E, Pomba C, Porrero C, Smith TC, Robinson AD, Weese JS, Keim P, Skov R, Aarestrup FM. Staphylococcus aureusCC398: Host Adaptation and Emergence of Methicillin Resistance in Livestock.mBIO, 3(1):e00305-11, 2012.
  6. Osadabe L, Hanson BM, Smith TC, Heimer R. Prevalence and Characteristics of Staphylococcus aureus in Connecticut swine and swine workers. Zoonoses and Public Health, in press, 2012.
  7. Wardyn SE, Kaufmann L, Smith TC. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in central Iowa wildlife.Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 48:1069-1073, 2012.
  8. Wardyn SE, Forshey B, Smith TC. High prevalence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin among methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus colonization isolates in rural Iowa.Microbial Drug Resistance, 18(4): 427-433, 2012.
  9. Dressler A, Scheibel P, Wardyn S, Harper A, Hanson B, Kroeger J, Diekema D, Bender J, Gray GC, Smith TC. Prevalence, antibiotic resistance, and molecular characterization of Staphylococcus aureus in state fair swine. Veterinary Record, 170(19):495, 2012.
  10. Mediavilla JR, Chen L, Uhlemann A, Rosenthal M, Koll B, Fries B, Schilling ME, Weiss D, Hanson BM, Smith TC, Lowy F, Kreiswirth BN. Human Infection with Staphylococcus aureus CC398 in the New York City Region, 2004-2010. Emerging Infectious Diseases; 18:700-2, 2012.
  11. Smith TC, Forshey BM, Wardyn SE, Hanson BM, Moritz ED. Molecular and Epidemiological Predictors of Staphylococcus aureus Colonization Site in a Population with Limited Nosocomial Exposure. American Journal of Infection Control, 40(10):992-6, 2012.
  12. O’Brien AM, Hanson BM, Farina SA, Wu JY, Simmering JE, Wardyn SE, Kulick M, Wallinga DB, Smith TC. MRSA in conventional and alternative retail pork products. PLoS ONE, 7(1): e30092, 2012.
  13. Daly JM, Levy BT, Ely JW, Swanson K, Bergus GR, Jogerst GJ, Smith TC. Management of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections in Community Practice Before and After Implementing a “Best Practice” Approach: An Iowa Research Network Intervention Study. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 24(5):524-33, 2011.
  14. Hanson B, Harper A, Wardyn S, Roberts L, Smith TC. Prevalence of S. aureus on retail meats, Iowa. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 4:169-174, 2011.
  15. Mendes RE, Smith TC, Deshpande LM, Diekema DJ, SaderHS, JonesRN.vga(A)-encoding gene in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ST398 recovered from swine and a swine farmer in the United States. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 71:177-80, 2011.
  16. Daly JM, Ely J, Levy BT, Smith TC, Merchant ML, Bergus G, Jogerst GJ. Primary Care Physicians’ Perspectives on Management of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections: An Iowa Research Network Study. The Journal of Rural Health, 27(3):319-28, 2011.
  17. Moritz ED, Smith TC. Livestock-associated Staphylococcus aureus in a childcare worker. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 17:742-3, 2011.
  18. Leedom Larson KR, Harper AL, Hanson BM, Male MJ, Wardyn SE, Dressler AE, Wagstrom EA, Tendolkar S, Diekema DJ, Donham KJ, Smith TC. MRSA in pork shower facilities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77:696-8, 2011.  
  19. Smith TC, Pearson N. The emergence of Staphylococcus aureus sequence type 398. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11:327-39, 2011.
  20. Leedom Larson KR, Smith TC, Wagstrom EA, Donham K. Self-reported Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in U.S. pork producers. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 17:331-4, 2010.
  21. Smith TC, Harper A, Male M, Kroeger J, Tinkler G, Moritz-Korolev E, Herwaldt L, Diekema D. High prevalence of MRSA found in Midwestern US Swine and Swine workers.  PLoS ONE, 4(1):e4258, 2009.
  22. Smith TC, Capuano A, Boese B, Myers KP, Gray GC. Occupational exposure to Streptococcus suis among US swine workers.Emerging Infectious Diseases, 14(12): 1925-7, 2008.
Research Areas
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Zoonotic disease
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Bacterial ecology and antibiotic resistance
Affiliations
In addition to KSU, Dr. Smith remains an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, and is on the Advisory Board of the Zombie Research Society
Tara C. Smith, Ph.D.
OFFICE
College of Public Health
Center for Ecology and Natural Resources Sustainability
CONTACT INFO
Phone: 330-672-3946
tsmit176@kent.edu
COURSES TEACHING
Fall 2014
  • PH 30012 - 001 Communicable Diseases
  • PH 40195 - 003 St : Infectious Diseases In Hist
  • EPI 60195 - 002 St : Infectious Diseases In Hist
  • EPI 80195 - 002 St : Infectious Diseases In Hist
Spring 2015
  • PH 40195 - 002 St : Infectious Causes Of Chron
  • EPI 50196 - 002 Individual Invstigation Epi
  • EPI 60195 - 001 St : Infectious Causes Of Chron
  • EPI 63015 - 001 Epidem Of Infectious Diseases
  • EPI 80195 - 001 St : Infectious Causes Of Chron
EXPERTISE