The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has presented Walter A. Orenstein, MD, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center, the 2007 Dr. Charles Merieux Award for Achievement in Vaccinology and Immunology. The award was given at the NFID's Tenth Annual Conference on Vaccine Research in Baltimore on April 30. Dr. Orenstein also delivered a lecture on the state of immunization.
The Merieux Award honors those whose outstanding lifetime contributions to the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases have led to significant improvement in public health.
The award is named for Dr. Charles Merieux, the distinguished French scientist who devoted his life to fighting infectious diseases globally, combining his medical knowledge with an understanding of business to develop one of the world's leading vaccine laboratories, the Pasteur Institute. Dr. Merieux also was founder of the French Institute of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (later renamed the Merieux Institute), and he used in-vitro cultivation to produce millions of doses of vaccines.
Following a 26-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Orenstein joined Emory University in March 2004 as associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor of medicine in Emory School of Medicine. At the Vaccine Center, located at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, he also serves as director of the Emory Program for Vaccine Policy and Development. He is associate director of the Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats (SECEBT), a regional partnership led by Emory.
As director of the CDC's National Immunization Program, Dr. Orenstein led the U.S. effort to eliminate many of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases in this country. He served as an assistant surgeon general of the U. S. Public Health Service, as chairman of the World Health Organization's Technical Consultative Group on the Global Eradication of Poliomyelitis, as a member and rapporteur of the Pan American Health Organization's Technical Advisory Group on Vaccines and Immunization, as a member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and as a member of the International Editorial Board for the journal Vaccine. In 2004, he received the CDC's Charles C. Shepard Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. His many honors and awards include the U.S. Public Health Service's Commendation, Meritorious Service Medal and Distinguished Service Medal; the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal; the Excellence in Public Health Award of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; the Distinguished Service Award from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society; and the Excellence in Public Service Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics.