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Infectious Diseases Experts Honored for Outstanding Work in Patient Care, Research, Public Health and Education

James D. Cherry, M.D., FIDSA, Recognized for Lifetime Achievement


ARLINGTON, VA – Nov. 30 – Among the nine exceptional individuals being recognized by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, James D. Cherry, M.D., FIDSA, has been honored with this year’s Alexander Fleming Award for lifetime achievement. IDSA is pleased to acknowledge the following individuals for excellence in the field of infectious diseases with its annual Society Awards:

Alexander Fleming Lifetime Achievement Award: James D. Cherry, M.D., MSc, FIDSA

This award recognizes a career that reflects major contributions to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge about infectious diseases.

Over five decades, Dr. Cherry has become a giant in the field of pediatric infectious diseases, starting in the 1960s with his fundamental contributions to the study of enteroviral diseases, vaccine-preventable viral diseases, and the pharmacokinetics of anti-infective agents.. His early recognition and description of the limitations of the protective immunity of single-dose measles vaccination are still discussed during new outbreaks of measles in the U.S. He continues to make important contributions to the study of pertussis and its prevention, where he has been a worldwide leader since the 1980s, with a recent focus on understanding the pathophysiology and mortality associated with pertussis in infants.

The author of more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Cherry is the senior editor of—and a prolific contributor to—Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, a groundbreaking encyclopedic reference now in its eighth edition. The eponymous work remains an invaluable resource for all involved in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in children.

He is a Distinguished Research Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles and the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in the Division of Infectious Diseases. During his more than 40 years at UCLA, where he started the institution’s first pediatric infectious diseases training program, many of his trainees have gone on to become leaders in the field in the U.S. and around the world.

Dr. Cherry is a legendary physician-scientist and a strong advocate for immunization and the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

“Dr. Cherry’s decades of significant research have had a great and lasting impact on the field of infectious diseases. He has also had an enormous influence on the study of vaccine-preventable diseases, infectious diseases in children, and on our knowledge of pertussis. IDSA is proud to honor him with the 2020 Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement,” said Barbara D. Alexander, M.D., MHS, FIDSA, President of IDSA.

D.A. Henderson Award: Carol Dukes Hamilton, M.D., MHS, FIDSA

This award is named after the late epidemiologist who directed the international effort to eradicate smallpox, Dr. D.A. Henderson, in recognition of outstanding contributions to public health. This year’s recipient, Dr. Carol Hamilton, is a leader in the fight against tuberculosis.

Throughout a career spanning several decades that has included clinical care, research, public health, and global leadership, Dr. Hamilton’s contributions have directly improved the lives of people all over the world. A leader in programmatically relevant TB research, she was one of the original members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded TB Trials Consortium, in which she held leadership positions until her retirement in 2018. A long-time chair of the consortium’s advocacy and external relations committee, she was instrumental in integrating community input into TB research through the creation of the consortium’s highly successful community research advisors group. At the state level, she reinvigorated North Carolina’s TB control program as medical director from 2001-2008, combining practical health experience with cutting-edge, evidence-based medicine.

Professor emeritus of medicine in the Infectious Diseases Division in the Department of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, Dr. Hamilton also served in several leadership positions at Family Health International (now FHI 360), working to improve international public health efforts to control TB, HIV, and other diseases. In these roles, she collaborated with partners around the world to integrate disease control with rigorous scientific research.

The Watanakunakorn Clinician Award:  Ronald G. Nahass, M.D., MHCM, FIDSA

Named to honor the memory of Chatrchai Watanakunakorn, this award is presented by the IDSA Foundation to recognize an IDSA member for outstanding achievement in the clinical practice of infectious diseases. This year’s awardee, Dr. Ronald Nahass, has made significant contributions to the growth and recognition of clinical infectious diseases practice.

As a founder and the current president of ID Care, one of the largest independent infectious disease clinical practice groups in the country, Dr. Nahass has developed a comprehensive clinical practice model that incorporates all aspects of ID medicine, including outpatient and inpatient care, HIV, hepatitis, wound care, infusion services, travel medicine, teaching and clinical research. Over the past 20 years, the practice has grown to include more than 60 clinicians providing care at more than 130 locations across New Jersey and serves more than 70,000 patients each year.

As a researcher, his work in clinical trials of antivirals has contributed extensively to advances in the clinical management of HIV, hepatitis B and C virus, and other infections. Committed to both private practice and academia, Dr. Nahass is also a clinical professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and volunteers as a patient-centered, medical-home mentor for medical students.

Dr. Nahass has served on numerous society committees to advance the concerns of clinicians and champion quality care, including the Clinical Affairs Committee, the Quality Improvement Task Force and the Value of ID Specialists Task Force. He is a current co-chair of IDSA’s Clinical Governance Subcommittee.

The Walter E. Stamm Mentor Award: George W. Counts, M.D., FIDSA

In honor of the late past president of IDSA Walter E. Stamm, M.D., this award is presented to a member who has been exceptional in guiding the growth of infectious diseases professionals. This year’s recipient, Dr. George Counts, is an inspiring advocate for diversity and gender equity in the field of infectious diseases. During his long career, Dr. Counts has demonstrated a tireless dedication to trainees. An innovative leader committed to improving diversity, with an emphasis on gender equity, he has served on or led numerous committees, task forces and councils devoted to these issues for IDSA and other medical societies and institutions.

A former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Dr. Counts also has held faculty positions at the University of Miami in Florida and at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he became professor of medicine, and served as a special advisor for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center until his retirement in 2004. He held several positions at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, including chief of the Clinical Research Management Branch in the Division of AIDS.

The author of more than 100 publications, with interests in antimicrobial therapy, infections in immunocompromised patients, HIV/AIDS, public and global health, and bioethics, Dr. Counts has received many honors, including the Champion of Diversity Award from NIH and an IDSA Society Citation.

The Oswald Avery Award:  Sallie R. Permar, M.D., Ph.D.

The Oswald Avery Award recognizes outstanding achievement in infectious diseases by an IDSA member who is age 45 or younger. This year’s recipient is a skilled pediatric infectious diseases physician and translational researcher.

A professor of pediatrics, immunology, molecular genetics and microbiology and pathology at Duke University Medical School, Dr. Permar specializes in the prevention and treatment of congenital viral infections, including HIV and cytomegalovirus. A global leader in pediatric HIV vaccine development, as well as in immune strategies to achieve a cure for HIV in children, she has identified innate and adaptive immune responses that are critical to protection against vertical HIV transmission. She was the first to identify HIV-neutralizing antibodies in breast milk. Her work in developing novel nonhuman primate models to study postnatal transmission of HIV and testing promising maternal/infant HIV vaccine strategies has also led to new infant HIV vaccine trials.

The recipient of several awards for young investigators and the author of more than 100 publications, Dr. Permar is the founding director of the Children’s Health and Discovery Initiative and associate dean of physician-scientist development at Duke University Medical Center. She also serves as the principal investigator for several National Institutes of Health grants.

The Society Citation Award: Adarsh Bhimraj, M.D., FIDSA, and Christopher A. Ohl, M.D., FIDSA

The Society Citation is given in recognition of exemplary contributions to IDSA, outstanding discovery in the field of infectious diseases, or a lifetime of outstanding achievement in a given area – whether research, clinical investigation or clinical practice. This year IDSA presents this award to two individuals, Drs Adarsh Bhimraj and Christopher Ohl.

While caring for patients during the initial COVID-19 surge at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Bhimraj led IDSA’s multidisciplinary panel of experts who assembled the rapidly evolving evidence and, in April 2020, released the society’s treatment and management guidelines for patients with COVID-19. Continually updated as more evidence emerges, the guidelines, of which Dr. Bhimraj is the first author, have set the standard for treating patients with COVID-19. The living document has provided clinicians with a much-needed framework for managing patients, supporting only those interventions for which the data has suggested safety and efficacy..

An associate staff physician and head of the Neurologic Infectious Diseases Section in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Bhimraj has served on several IDSA committees, including the panel that developed clinical practice guidelines for health care-associated ventriculitis and meningitis. Creator of the popular ‘ID BugBowl’ quiz game at IDWeek, he has been a member of the meeting’s program committee for the past five years and has led several IDWeek subcommittees.

Dr. Ohl has provided a tremendous service through the IDSA Education Committee. As the chair of the committee from 2014-2017, Dr. Ohl ensured the interests of the society’s members were represented during the restructuring of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s maintenance of certification program. Prior to becoming chair, he served as a member of that committee from 2009-2014 and has served on several additional IDSA committees, including the maintenance of certification question writing committee and the guideline committee for antimicrobial stewardship. He has been IDSA’s liaison to the American Board of Internal Medicine since 2015.

A professor of medicine and associate program director for the ID Fellowship Program at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Dr. Ohl is medical director of the Center for Antimicrobial Utilization, Stewardship, and Epidemiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he is also an attending physician. His research interests include antimicrobial stewardship, health care-associated infections, and emerging infections. He has served as a consultant for several state and federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Clinical Practice Innovation Award: Raghavendra Tirupathi, M.D.

This award recognizes members who devote the majority of their time to patient care and who have significantly advanced the clinical practice of infectious diseases within the last five years. This may be accomplished through innovation in clinical practice design or management, or advocacy on behalf of IDSA that fosters change to better recognize the value of infectious diseases practice. This year’s recipient, Dr. Tirupathi, has pioneered a model for a successful rural infectious diseases practice.

Deeply committed to ID care in rural areas, Dr. Tirupathi started and leads an ID/HIV practice that accommodates approximately 4,000 patient visits each year at Keystone Health, a federally qualified health center in rural Pennsylvania serving the uninsured and underinsured population of three counties. The center’s HIV program provides the only source of specialized HIV care in a 100-mile area and is the only practice providing HIV preexposure prophylaxis medication to the county’s vulnerable and at-risk populations. In response to rising rates of chlamydia and syphilis infections in the local area, he also initiated a sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing and treatment program, which now serves 1,000 patients annually.

The Clinical Teacher Award: Stanford T. Shulman, M.D., FIDSA

The Clinical Teacher Award honors a career dedicated to excellence in teaching fellows, residents or medical students, and motivating them to teach the next generation. This year, the award goes to Dr, Stan Shulman, a renowned clinician and teacher of pediatric infectious diseases.

Since the late 1970s until his recent retirement from clinical practice and the faculty, Dr. Shulman has been the cornerstone of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, where he is now professor emeritus. A master bedside clinician-educator, Dr. Shulman served as chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago from 1979-2014 and directed its Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship Program from 1979-2020, recruiting, teaching and mentoring countless ID physicians now practicing around the world.

Dr. Shulman is known for ensuring that students and trainees understood not only pathophysiology but also how to correctly assess and care for a patient, and, importantly, how to talk to patients and their families. He has received numerous honors for his teaching. Under his leadership as chief, the ID division at Northwestern received the Best Teaching Division award for 10 consecutive years. An international expert in Kawasaki disease and Streptococcus pyogenes, Dr. Shulman has served on national committees developing clinical guidelines defining the standard of care for many infectious diseases and is a past president of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

“It is my distinct honor to congratulate all of these dedicated and impressive stewards of the infectious diseases field. Their contributions reflect excellence in evidence-based research, education and clinical practice. Not only are they mentors and innovators, they also inspire, encourage and challenge. IDSA salutes these trailblazers who have forged a path for a new generation of steadfast infectious diseases scientists and physicians to flourish, inspire and save lives,” said Dr. Alexander.

For full awards descriptions, recipient biographies and information about awards given to Society members this year, please visit

About the Infectious Diseases Society of America

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is an organization of over 12,000 physicians, scientists, public health experts and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention and patient care. The Society was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, VA. For more information, see

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