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D.A. Henderson Award

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Started in 2017,  the D.A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Health recognizes a lifetime of achievement in public health. Dr. Henderson’s role in leading the successful eradication of smallpox will stand forever as a shining example of the profound impact that infectious disease physicians and scientists can have in preventing disease and relieving human suffering. By naming this award in his honor we hope to inspire others to become champions for public health throughout the world.

2023 Winner: John F. Modlin, M.D.  

John F. Modlin, M.D., holds the title of Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine (Emeritus) at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth where he was Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Senior Advising Dean before taking a position with the Polio team the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from 2013 to 2019. Dr. Modlin graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1971, completed pediatric residency and infectious diseases fellowship training at Boston Children’s Hospital, served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and held subsequent faculty positions at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Dartmouth. His career interests include perinatal viral infections, enterovirus infections, poliovirus immunization, vaccine development, and immunization policy. 

Dr. Modlin’s early clinical observations and experimental studies focused on perinatal enterovirus infections. Following the emergence of HIV disease, he contributed to early antiviral treatment trials as a member of the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group, including the pivotal 049 and 076 studies that demonstrated for the first time that mother to infant HIV transmission could be prevented by antiviral therapy. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Modlin designed and led clinical trials of IPV, OPV and the combination of both vaccines on both humoral and mucosal immunity to poliovirus infection, research that was instrumental in the decision to change polio vaccination policy in the United States in the late 1990s. At the Gates Foundation, he worked with a global consortium of virologists and vaccine trialists to develop novel, genetically stable oral poliovirus vaccines in support of the polio eradication initiative. 

Among other leadership positions, Dr. Modlin has served as Chair of the FDA Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee, Chair of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and Chair of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed papers in the medical literature. 


Past D.A. Henderson Award Winners

2022 Nimalie Stone, MD
2021 Lawrence C. Maddoff, MD, FIDSA
2020 Carol Dukes Hamilton, M.D., MHS, FIDSA
2019 Catherine M. Wilfert, MD, FIDSA
2018 William Schaffner, MD, FIDSA, FSHEA
2017 F. Marc LaForce, MD, FIDSA



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