In late 2020, Justin Garoutte was approached with a unique project from the governor’s office: plan and launch a COVID-19 wastewater surveillance system as an additional public health tool to improve population health during the pandemic. Through this important work, Justin and their team have successfully prevented outbreaks and saved lives among vulnerable populations. For example, Justin and their team have prevented three outbreaks at a juvenile justice facility in southern New Mexico by swiftly alerting partners of increasing viral levels in their wastewater, who then tested clients and staff for COVID-19 and directed individuals to isolate and quarantine, as needed.
When not occupied with COVID-19 response work, Justin leads the department’s cross-cutting science, innovation, collaboration, and compliance portfolios and manages staff in each area.
A true world traveler, Justin was selected to participate in two exchange programs sponsored by the U.S. State Department, one as a citizen ambassador in Tunisia and another in Germany.
Justin received an MPH from the University of New Mexico, and a BA from Colorado College.
I aspire to create systemic change that fosters and leads to healthier communities here in New Mexico and beyond. By engaging with communities at local, national, and international levels, I hope to build and sustain public health practice that achieves positive health outcomes and saves lives.