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

John F. Modlin, MD, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center—a pre-eminent leader in vaccine research, development, and implementation for more than four decades—received the 2023 D.A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Health for his long public health service and leadership in advancing vaccine safety and public policy.

John F. Modlin, MD
John F. Modlin, MD

Given during the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) annual meeting in Boston, MA, this award honors the memory of Donald A. Henderson, MD, a physician, epidemiologist, and public health expert who is widely credited for the success of the global smallpox program and recognizes a lifetime of achievement in public health. His work represents the profound impact that infectious disease physicians and scientists can have in preventing disease and relieving human suffering.

Throughout his career in public health and academic medicine Modlin led studies on several vaccines of public health importance including measles, rubella, polio, and influenza vaccines. In the 1980s he designed and conducted clinical trials that enabled and encouraged the transition from oral polio vaccine to inactivated polio vaccine in the United States for routine childhood immunization, a step soon followed by most developed countries. More recently, while at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he contributed to the development of a novel oral poliovirus vaccine designed to reduce the risk of adverse events from the current vaccine and support global eradication of poliomyelitis.

Long an advocate for sound public policy, Modlin has chaired both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. He led the ACIP during a critical time when the nation confronted potential bioterrorism threats from smallpox and anthrax, a role requiring both scientific expertise and diplomacy due to intense public attention and political pressure.

For full award descriptions, recipient biographies and information about other awards given to Society members this year, please visit www.idsociety.org/about-idsa/society-awards/.

Founded in 1797, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth strives to improve the lives of the communities it serves through excellence in learning, discovery, and healing. The Geisel School of Medicine is renowned for its leadership in medical education, healthcare policy and delivery science, biomedical research, global health, and in creating innovations that improve lives worldwide. As one of America’s leading medical schools, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is committed to training new generations of diverse leaders who will help solve our most vexing challenges in healthcare.

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire’s only academic health system and the state’s largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and is recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 54 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes the state’s only children’s hospital and multiple locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Windsor and Bennington, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory and specialty services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.