Pulitzer Prize-winning alum pens book

Alum and journalist Lara Salahi, who earned a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, co-authors book about the 2014 Ebola crisis in Africa and what should be done to help improve the global response the next time an outbreak occurs.

Notre Dame alum Lara Salahi ('03) is an award-winning multimedia journalist and author. She's also an assistant professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Endicott College, which is located just north of Boston. 

Salahi shoots, writes, and edits her own stories and currently works as an independent journalist focusing on public health, science and medicine. In 2014, she shared a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of The Boston Globe for its coverage of the bombings in 2013 that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others near the Boston Marathon finish line.

The holder of a dual undergraduate degree from Boston University in broadcast journalism and international relations with a concentration in Middle East and North African foreign policy and security studies, Salahi also is the founder of Salahi Media, a multi-platform media production company based in the Boston area.

While she was working toward a master’s degree in health communication from Emerson College, she was field-producing stories in the New England region for ABC News shows, including Good Morning America and World News with David Muir, and she has previously worked with the ABC News' Medical Unit, where she produced digital and on-air health stories.

This year, in a book due to be released in November, Salahi teamed up with an award-winning genetic researcher, Pardis Sabeti, who helped tame the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, to tell the story of what happened and what would have to change to prevent the next outbreak from spiraling out of control again.

Salahi said the book is a deep look into the broken system of global infectious disease outbreak response. 

"More specifically, it’s a narrative about the outbreak in West Africa and the lessons learned from the inadequate response," she said. "One story we follow in particular is that of a prominent physician in Sierra Leone who had treated hundreds of patients with Ebola only to succumb to Ebola himself. It’s a tragedy because difficult decisions had to be made and arguably more could have been done to save his life." 

Salahi, who is fluent in Armenian, Arabic and French, also said the book makes the case that the global community is not prepared for the next international infectious disease epidemic when it hits. 

"Science tells us it’s a matter of 'when,' not 'if,'" she said. "In the book, we lay out some guiding principles to hopefully help improve the world's culture of response when the next outbreak hits."

Salahi said her co-author, Sabeti, is the scientist who sequenced the genome of Ebola during the 2014 outbreak. 

"We met in 2014 while I was covering the Ebola outbreak," she said. "And from there we collaborated on original research, which turned into this book."

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