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Wilfert honored at IDWeek 2019 with IDSA Society Award

Friday, October 18, 2019
Catherine Wilfert, MD

Among the eight exceptional individuals honored by IDSA and the IDSA Foundation at IDWeek 2019 in Washington, DC, Catherine Wilfert, MD, FIDSA, was the recipient of the A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Health. IDSA recognized the following individuals for excellence in the field of infectious diseases:

The A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Health, named after the late epidemiologist who directed the international effort to eradicate smallpox. The recipient of this honor is Catherine M. Wilfert, MD, FIDSA. A relentless advocate for the treatment and prevention of HIV in infants, Dr. Wilfert has made many seminal contributions in this area during her long career. These include leading the development of treatments for children infected with HIV and leading the effort to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in North Carolina, which resulted in a 90 percent reduction in just 3 years, followed by similar efforts to reduce perinatal HIV transmission across the U.S. and around the world, leading to a 47 percent decrease in new infections globally.

A professor of pediatrics and microbiology and division chief of pediatric ID in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine for many years until the mid-1990s, Dr. Wilfert joined the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation as its scientific director in 1996. She spent many months of each year working in Africa, designing and implementing strategies to interfere with mother-to-child transmission. Her studies were the basis for policy changes, including at the World Health Organization. Dr. Wilfert has been a world leader in the tremendous progress that has been made in the reduction of perinatal HIV transmission.

Other awards presented during IDWeek 2019 include:

  • Alexander Fleming Lifetime Achievement Award
    W. Michael Scheld, MD, FIDSA
  • The Watanakunakorn Clinician Award
    Virginia D. Banks, MD, MBA, FIDSA
  • The Walter E. Stamm Mentor Award
    David L. Thomas, MD, MPH, FIDSA
  • The Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement
    Nasia Safdar, MD, MS, PhD, FIDSA, FSHEA
  • The Society Citation Award
    Steven K. Schmitt, MD, FIDSA and Brian S. Schwartz, MD

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