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This profile was last updated on 12/17/13  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. William E. Keene

Wrong Dr. William E. Keene?

Senior Epidemiologist

Local Address: Oregon, United States

Employment History

  • Senior Epidemiologist
    Oregon Public Health Division
  • Clinical Epidemiologist
    Oregon Public Health Division
  • Senior Epidemiologist
    Oregon Public Health
  • Epidemiologist
    Oregon Department of Human Services
  • Doctor
    Oregon Department of Human Services


  • bachelor's degree , anthropology
    Yale University
  • bachelor’s degree , anthropology
    Yale University
  • doctorate , microbiology
    University of California at Berkeley
  • master , public health
    University of California at Berkeley
  • bachelor's degree , anthropology
    Yale University
  • parasitology and microbiology
    Johns Hopkins
197 Total References
Web References
Food Safety News » Food Safety Leaders, 17 Dec 2013 [cached]
When Dr. Bill Keene gave a presentation on the dangers of raw milk at a past meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association, even the raw milk advocates on the opposing side of the panel couldn't help but laugh and revel in the Oregon senior state epidemiologist's dry humor.
Keene, 56, who fell ill with acute pancreatitis and passed away suddenly on Sunday afternoon, was the epidemiologist who always called things how he saw them and regularly bucked tradition, according to colleagues and admirers. He was the epidemiologist who took environmental samples of restroom diaper-changing tables, personally visited outbreak victims' homes to collect suspect food, and earned a national reputation for digging deep into investigations and pioneering unconventional methods.
Because outbreaks don't recognize state borders, Keene would often end up working with Mohle-Boetani and public health units in California during big outbreaks.
When California's almond industry was hit especially hard with Salmonella outbreaks a decade ago, Keene traveled to the plants to help solve contamination issues with their operations.
"Bill knew that getting at the cause of an outbreak rapidly was what you needed to do to protect the public, and he was very persistent," Mohle-Boetani said.
Keene earned his bachelor's degree in anthropology from Yale University and then spent two years studying rhesus monkeys in India and Pakistan before attending graduate school in public health and microbiology.
"Bill had that training, but, as an anthropologist, he also looked at telling stories and seeing how the facts fit. Bill really brought that to the area of foodborne disease epidemiology."
Oregon and Minnesota are often cited as having two of the leading state epidemiology teams. While that might lead some to become competitive, Keene was always a great collaborator with Minnesota, Osterholm said.
"But there will never be another one quite like Bill."
In June 2012, Food Safety News interviewed Keene about an E. coli O145 outbreak that had yet to be resolved. While Oregon was not involved with the outbreak investigation, Keene provided insight into how public health investigators try to pinpoint a food source in an open investigation. Listen to that interview below:
Dr. William Keene, Oregon’s senior state epidemiologist, died Sunday, Dec. 1, The Oregonian newspaper reported. Keene was admitted to a Portland hospital two weeks earlier for acute pancreatitis.
For the past two decades, the nationally known food detective kept the Oregon Public Health Division at the top of a short list of states known for being able to quickly solve outbreaks of foodborne disease.
In a profile published in The Oregonian in 2010, colleagues called Keene everything from "one of the food safety heroes in the U.S." to “zealous, energetic, dedicated and diligent.â€
Keene’s office did double duty as a museum of foodborne illness outbreaks, with shelves containing the packages that once held contaminated Dole spinach, Peter Pan peanut butter, Nestlé Toll House cookies and many others.
His personal license plate was Oregon O157:H7, the deadliest strain of E. coli.
Keene, 56, grew up in Seattle, where his father was an accountant for Boeing and his mother was a homemaker. He is a 1977 graduate of Yale University, with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.
He spent two years in India and Pakistan studying rhesus monkeys. Returning to the states, he became interested in parasites while working as a lab technician at the University of California at San Francisco.
His interest in parasites led Keene back to graduate school, first at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and then at the University of California at Berkeley, where he graduated in 1989 with a master's in public health and a doctorate in microbiology. He had worked as Oregon’s top food detective ever since.
William Keene, senior ..., 15 Nov 2013 [cached]
William Keene, senior epidemiologist with the state Public Health Division, says 10 other outbreaks in Oregon since 2005 were traced to small growers or processors.
"Small operations can and do cause outbreaks," he said.
Sad: Oregon's Bill Keene ..., 2 Dec 2013 [cached]
Sad: Oregon's Bill Keene dies at 56
And now we've all lost because Bill Keene, senior epidemiologist with
I agreed to help Bill with that noble goal.
Post navigation ← 55 sick: possible Norovirus at school camp in Australia1 sick with botulism; olives recalled in Italy →
3 thoughts on " Sad: Oregon's Bill Keene dies at 56" Pingback: Small-Town Raw Milk Farm Faces Dubious Attack in Massachusetts - Unofficial Network Pingback: Small-Town Raw Milk Farm Faces Dubious Attack in Massachusetts | World Liberty News
William Keene, senior ..., 5 Dec 2013 [cached]
William Keene, senior epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division, is shown in a file photo at his office in Portland, Ore. Over the past 20 years, he solved or helped solve many outbreaks, gaining the respect of his peers across the country and bolstering the state's stature as a leader in identifying tainted food. The photograph on the file cabinet below Keene's elbow is of him on the job, investigating an outbreak of Listeria in Oregon which resulted in one death. Keene died Sunday at age 56.(AP Photo/The Oregonian, Jamie Francis)
Keene and his colleagues sprang into action, interviewing victims on the phone.
Keene had a theory: contaminated deer droppings. So, he tromped through the strawberry fields in Yamhill County, collecting pellets. Turns out they were contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
Keene was right, as usual.
A brilliant scientist, a man who mentored many and transformed the way food safety investigations are done nationwide, Keene is gone. He passed away Sunday afternoon after a two-week bout with acute pancreatitis caused by gallstones. He was only 56.
His family, friends and colleagues coast-to-coast are devastated. At least one of his co-workers in the Oregon Public Health Division, where Keene was senior epidemiologist, stayed home Monday to grieve.
But Bill, while capable of doing that, took a step back and looked at the world in a way an anthropologist would. He asked how it all fit together and what had occurred.
Once he solved a case, he spread the word, informing colleagues, federal health officials, even company executives. Hed call chief executive officers personally to tell them that one of their products was making people sick. Hed also phone the food safety chief at Costco, even in the middle of the night, to tell him about tainted food.
Many epidemiologists hesitate to speak out publicly. Not Keene, though it occasionally got him into trouble.
Besides his work at the Oregon Public Health Division, Keene was a consultant with the World Health Organization. He took unpaid leave and used vacation time to create infectious disease surveillance systems in Sudan, Thailand, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and India. He authored 40 publications, made dozens of presentations and won a number of awards.
Keene met his wife, Elise Gautier, when they were both at Yale.
"Meals prepared and served in Oregon's ..., 4 June 2012 [cached]
"Meals prepared and served in Oregon's K-12 schools, both public and private, appear to be extremely safe from a foodborne disease perspective," said Dr. Bill Keene, clinical epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division.
Only a few more were either possibly linked or couldn't be ruled out as linked, Keene said.
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