Elizabeth R. Griffin Program

Elizabeth R. Griffin died in 1997 as a result of an ocular exposure to a macaque (monkey) virus that occurred while she was a primate research worker at the Yerkes Primate Research Center. Following Beth’s death, her family explored ways that they could prevent similar events from occurring while still demonstrating strong support for safe and responsible research.

The Griffin family created a non-profit foundation in Beth’s name to fulfill this mission. In its early years, the ERG Foundation developed relationships with the Association of Primate Veterinarians (APV), the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS), and the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR). These collaborations helped the ERG Foundation develop and deliver professional education programs for researchers on non-human primates, to create Medical Alert Information Cards that are used throughout the world by people who work with macaques, to support research to understand and reduce risks of zoonotic diseases amongst people working with animals, and to encourage and support essential biosafety training.

Following the Amerithrax incident and the 2003 SARS outbreak, the ERG Foundation became a leading advocate for biosafety awareness and training, adding the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) as a key partner and collaborating with numerous science-based organizations to focus on prevention through high-quality biosafety training, research on biological exposures, and support for occupational health awareness and improvement around the world.

In 2018, the ERG Foundation selected the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University to advance its research and education missions, launching a new era as the Elizabeth R Griffin Program (ERGP-CGHSS).

ERGP-CGHSS builds on the 20-year legacy of the Foundation’s work and the Georgetown University Medical Center’s mission of excellence in research, education, and the improvement of human health and well-being. ERGP-CGHSS is committed to:

  • Conducting collaborative research to identify best practices for prevention;
  • Promoting safe work practices, biosafety, and biosecurity in research and clinical laboratories worldwide through training and advocacy;
  • and Strengthening global health security networks and leadership to achieve to make the world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.