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IDSA Honors Infectious Diseases Leaders at IDWeek 2023

The Infectious Diseases Society of America is pleased to honor 11 infectious diseases leaders at IDWeek 2023 with Society Awards for their contributions to infectious diseases and public health.

“On behalf of the Society, I am proud to recognize each of these distinguished members for their outstanding contributions in furthering the field of infectious diseases,” said Carlos del Rio, MD, FIDSA, president of IDSA. “As we look toward the opportunities and challenges of the future, my hope is that the remarkable work of these award recipients will serve as an inspiration to the next generation of ID professionals.”

Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement: Susan Swindells, MBBS

Susan Swindells, MBBS, is the recipient of IDSA’s 2023 Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement. This award recognizes a career that reflects major contributions to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge about infectious diseases. 

Dr. Swindells is an exemplary leader as seen through her decades of clinical service, landmark clinical research and scholarly dissemination, and contribution to national and international guidelines for HIV, tuberculosis and COVID-19 treatment.

Dr. Swindells is a professor of internal medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She has led numerous high-impact clinical trials, held leadership roles in the National Institutes of Health-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group, serves on national HIV guidelines committees and, more recently, was appointed to the national COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel.

She has led numerous landmark studies that defined optimal modern antiretroviral treatment strategies, treatment of opportunistic infections, prevention of HIV with antiretroviral therapy and treatment simplification. Her more recent work has focused on TB treatment in patients with HIV, and she led the groundbreaking trial of “BRIEF TB” therapy, the findings of which have already been integrated into clinical treatment guidelines and will no doubt play a significant role in curbing the epidemic.

In addition to the impact of her research on clinical practice, Dr. Swindells’ legacy includes the significant impact she has had on the careers of many current and rising leaders in the field of HIV research through her investment in mentoring junior investigators and students both at UNMC and nationally. She was honored in 2020 as the 14th UNMC Scientist Laureate, the highest honor UNMC bestows upon its researchers.

Dr. Swindells’ influence on the field is evident through the 18,000-plus citations of her more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, numerous book chapters, reviews and abstracts, including multiple independent projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration and pharmaceutical company-funded clinical trials.

“Dr. Swindells’ tireless efforts and leadership have led to clinical research successes that truly make a difference in the lives of persons living with HIV globally,” Dr. del Rio said. “We applaud her decades of mentorship and contributions to the field and are pleased to award her with the 2023 Alexander Fleming Award for Lifetime Achievement.”

Other awards presented during IDWeek 2023 include:

Anthony Fauci Courage in Leadership Award: Peter Hotez, MD, PhD

This award honors the values and attributes that Anthony Fauci, MD, exhibited throughout his career and recognizes individuals who inspire and encourage others to make a difference. The inaugural recipient is Peter Hotez, MD, PhD.

Dr. Hotez — currently a professor and dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development — has made landmark contributions to advance the understanding, prevention and treatment of multiple infectious diseases. His pioneering work in developing vaccines for neglected tropical diseases throughout his career also includes co-leading a team of scientists to develop a low-cost and highly effective COVID vaccine technology leading to both CORBEVAX (India) and IndoVac (Indonesia), which has already been used to treat tens of millions of people around the world. Dr. Hotez previously served as U.S. science envoy for the U.S. Department of State and through both his personal story, public appearances, writings, and several single-authored books (including Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism and The Deadly Rise of Anti-science published by Johns Hopkins University Press) is considered a national figure in combatting anti-science, misinformation and disinformation. His exemplary career has been rooted in speaking scientific truth, perseverance in the face of opposition and serving as a change agent for the most vulnerable patients around the world.

IDSA is proud to recognize Dr. Hotez with the 2023 Anthony Fauci Courage in Leadership Award for his efforts to combat dangerous vaccine misinformation.

D.A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Health: John F. Modlin, MD, FIDSA

This award honors the memory of Donald A. Henderson, MD, and recognizes a lifetime of achievement in public health. This year’s honoree is John F. Modlin, MD, FIDSA

Dr. Modlin — emeritus professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth — has been a pre-eminent leader in vaccine research, development and implementation for more than four decades. His many investigational, clinical and implementational vaccine efforts have led to great successes in the United States and around the world. Dr. Modlin has chaired both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. He also played a critical role, both scientifically and diplomatically, in guiding ACIP to develop sound smallpox vaccination policies at a time of intense political pressure. Most recently, he led the polio vaccines research group at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

IDSA is proud to honor Dr. Modlin with the 2023 D.A. Henderson Award for his lifelong public health service and leadership in safe vaccine development and dissemination.

Watanakunakorn Clinician Award: Karen Bloch, MD, MPH, FIDSA, and Richard C. Prokesch, MD, FIDSA

This award — honoring the memory of Chatrchai Watanakunakorn, MD — recognizes IDSA members for their outstanding achievement in the clinical practice of infectious diseases. This year the award goes to Karen Bloch, MD, MPH, FIDSA, and Richard C. Prokesch, MD, FIDSA.

Karen Bloch, MD, MPH, FIDSA — professor of medicine and associate division director for clinical affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center — is known for her deep, intentionally cultivated expertise in and passion for clinical medicine. Dr. Bloch stepped up to become the medical director of the VUMC COVID-19 Infusion Clinic in 2020 — the first infusion clinic in middle Tennessee specifically created to provide treatment for patients with serious COVID-19 infection. She is widely sought after as an international expert in central nervous system infections and tick-borne infections. Her colleagues at Vanderbilt and throughout the nation rely on her expertise to manage puzzling cases. Dr. Bloch is also an outstanding educator who has committed to sharing her expertise and mentoring the next generation of infectious diseases physicians.

IDSA is proud to honor Dr. Bloch with a 2023 Watanakunakorn Clinician Award for embodying the gold standard for clinical care.

Richard C. Prokesch, MD, FIDSA — founding partner and physician at Infectious Diseases Associates, PC in Atlanta — a practice that is committed to ensuring compassionate, quality care for patients with infectious diseases. In the early 1990s, his practice opened a hospice for AIDS patients to provide respectful and dignified end-of-life care when AIDS was highly stigmatized. Over four decades of practice, his passion for clinical medicine and infectious diseases has never waned. He is interested in not only improving the lives of his patients on an individual level but also helping to develop safe and effective hospital processes. Dr. Prokesch has been the ID consultant for the local health department for years and recently started to provide telehealth care for rural hospitals in Nebraska, Kansas and Wisconsin that lack their own ID providers. As an adjunct clinical instructor at Emory University School of Medicine, he has instilled a love of infectious diseases in trainees at all levels. 

IDSA is proud to honor Dr. Prokesch with a 2023 Watanakunakorn Clinician Award for his invaluable service to patients, colleagues and students.

Walter E. Stamm Mentor Award: Upinder Singh, MD, FIDSA

This award honoring the late Walter E. Stamm, MD, FIDSA, a past president of IDSA and a beloved mentor, is presented to an IDSA member who has been exceptional in guiding the growth of ID professionals. This year’s recipient is Upinder Singh, MD, FIDSA.

Dr. Singh is chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, professor of medicine and associate chair for faculty development in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. She has transformed her division through her ability to recruit, mentor and retain a diverse and highly productive faculty. To reduce burnout during the pandemic, Dr. Singh created new models of care to offload clinical burden while maintaining clinical excellence and facilitated the research of several fellows and faculty members. She has also mentored and facilitated the leadership of important programs in the hospital, including the antimicrobial stewardship program and the orthopedic infectious diseases program, one of the few in the country. As a role model for faculty and fellows alike, Dr. Singh’s mentorship has helped elevate the Division of Infectious Diseases, both at Stanford and nationally.

The Society is proud to recognize Dr. Singh with the 2023 Walter E. Stamm Mentor Award for her remarkable enthusiasm in recruiting and nurturing diverse ID talent. 

Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement: Talia H. Swartz, MD, PhD, FIDSA

The Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement recognizes outstanding achievement in infectious diseases research by a member of IDSA who is 45 or younger. This year’s recipient is Talia H. Swartz, MD, PhD, FIDSA.

Dr. Swartz — associate professor of medicine and medical education at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai — has made innumerable impacts in the field early in her career and has served IDSA on several initiatives. She has used her clinical expertise to engage in the national dialogue on the intersection of systemic racism and COVID-19 on IDSA’s Inclusion, Diversity, Access & Equity Task Force. Dr. Swartz is a talented physician-scientist who runs an NIH-funded laboratory that focuses on the intersection of HIV-1 infection and inflammation, contributing fundamentally to our understanding of how HIV-1 infection can mediate inflammatory signaling. She has co-authored 60 peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals such as Cell Reports, Journal of Virology and Nature. She is also an active teacher, mentor and scholar, serving as director of the MD/PhD Program and senior associate dean for MD/PhD education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

IDSA is proud to recognize Dr. Swartz’s outstanding work as a clinical advocate, educator and researcher with the 2023 Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement.

Clinical Practice Innovation Award: Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, PharmD, MPH

The Clinical Practice Innovation Award recognizes IDSA 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 year’s awardee is Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, PharmD, MPH.

Dr. Abdul-Mutakabbir — an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California San Diego in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences — is an advocate for identifying and dismantling structural inequities impacting the health of minoritized communities. Dr. Abdul-Mutakabbir has shone a light on how insufficient access to medications has disproportionately impacted populations of color, and she became a pharmacist spokesperson for equitable diagnosis, prevention and treatment of COVID-19. In addition to writing several scholarly pieces, she coordinated multiple COVID-19 vaccine clinics by developing community partnerships with local religious leaders. Additionally, she has presented both nationally and internationally on topics focused on prioritizing equity throughout antimicrobial stewardship programs and associated efforts. Dr. Abdul-Mutakabbir was also recognized in 2017 by the United States Public Health Service with the Outstanding Service Award.

The Society is proud to recognize Dr. Abdul-Mutakabbir with the 2023 Clinical Practice Innovation Award for her grassroots work to serve historically marginalized communities and amplify the specialty of infectious diseases.

Society Citation Award: Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis, MD, MS, ScD, PhD, FIDSA, and Robert T. Schooley, MD, FIDSA

The Society Citation Award is a discretionary award given in recognition of exemplary contribution to IDSA, an outstanding discovery in the field of infectious diseases or a lifetime of outstanding achievement. This year, IDSA presents the award to Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis, MD, MS, ScD, PhD, FIDSA, and Robert T. Schooley, MD, FIDSA.
Dimitrios P. Kontoyiannis, MD, MS, ScD, PhD, FIDSA — the Robert C. Hickey Chair in Clinical Care and deputy head for research in the Division of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center — is among the world’s most impactful scholars in the field of clinical and translational mycology. His major work in the field of clinical mycology has transformed the manner in which we approach and treat fungal infections, particularly those occurring in immunocompromised hosts. With more than 670 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Kontoyiannis has made seminal contributions to the fields of experimental and clinical mycology and the care of immunocompromised patients. He is a model infectious diseases physician-scientist whose numerous contributions advance medicine, improve patient care and tremendously benefit the profession.

For his creative, multifaceted and sustained contributions to this vital field, IDSA is proud to recognize Dr. Kontoyiannis with a 2023 Society Citation Award.

Robert T. Schooley, MD, FIDSA — professor of medicine and former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases within the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine — has had a distinguished career in virology research and exploring the benefits of combination antiretroviral therapy. Dr. Schooley became editor-in-chief of IDSA’s journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2017 and served through the height of the COVID pandemic. During his tenure at CID, Dr. Schooley navigated an explosive growth of submitted papers, continuing to publish highly influential research while maintaining the journal’s scientific rigor under challenging circumstances. He made extraordinary contributions to the Society as leader of this pivotal journal and to every IDSA member and infectious diseases professional who relied on the science published in CID during the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, he has led an effort to bring phage therapy to patients who have multidrug-resistant infections that are untreatable with antibiotics.

For his dedication and leadership of CID during such a pivotal moment, IDSA is proud to honor Dr. Schooley with a 2023 Society Citation Award.

Clinical Teacher Award: Nigar Kirmani, MD, FIDSA

The Clinical Teacher Award honors a career dedicated to teaching clinical infectious diseases to fellows, residents and medical students and recognizes excellence as a clinician and motivation to teach the next generation of physicians. This year the award goes to Nigar Kirmani, MD, FIDSA.

Dr. Kirmani — a professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis — is a highly sought-after educator and outstanding mentor. She has trained and supervised the career development of more than 100 fellow physicians in ID and served as director of the ID fellowship training program at WUSM from 2002 to 2020. Dr. Kirmani has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to all levels of trainees including medical students, residents and fellow physicians. The fellows and residents she has trained have assumed leadership positions in ID all over the world and have authored or co-authored more than 200 articles. Over the many years she has served at WUSM, she has garnered numerous teaching and service awards, including receiving the prestigious Distinguished Service Teaching Award 12 times and being named Lecturer of the Year in 2014. 

IDSA is proud to award Dr. Kirmani the 2023 Clinical Teacher Award for her wisdom, compassion and legacy of effective teaching.

For full award descriptions, recipient biographies and information about other awards given to Society members this year, please visit
About the Infectious Diseases Society of America
IDSA is a leader on issues of importance to ID professionals, including education and training, policy and advocacy, setting guidelines for patient care and developing resources for clinical practice. It remains at the forefront of global health issues such as COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance and HIV/AIDS. Housed within IDSA is the HIV Medicine Association, which represents medical providers and researchers working on the front lines of HIV. More than 12,000 IDSA and HIVMA members work across the United States and in nearly 100 other countries on six different continents. For more information, visit Follow IDSA on Facebook and Twitter

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