Published: Sept. 25, 2006
Updated: Sept. 26, 2006
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By Duke Medicine News and Communications
DURHAM, N.C. -- Samuel L. Katz, M.D., Wilburt Cornell Davison Professor and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center, has received the 2006 Alfred I. duPont Award for Excellence in Children's Health Care.
The award, established in 2001 to honor one person annually who has made a substantial contribution to children's health care nationwide, will be presented Tuesday, Sept. 26 by Nemours, one of the nation's largest children's health systems.
Katz is one of the original members of the team of researchers who developed the measles vaccine. He also has made significant contributions to the development of vaccine programs for other infectious diseases like polio, pertussis, rubella, influenza and HIV infection, all of which have the potential to threaten the lives of children.
"I was thrilled, flattered and overwhelmed when I learned of this award," Katz said. "As a surviving member of the original team that discovered the measles vaccine, I'm humbled by this recognition."
After his team developed the measles vaccine, Katz collaborated with government and non-profit organizations to provide it to populations around the globe. Since it was discovered, the vaccine has been credited with saving millions of lives.
"The United States has a very controlled health environment for most childhood vaccines. But we must remember that the diseases are not eliminated, they exist just a plane ride away," Katz said.
For more than two decades, Katz was chairman of the department of pediatrics at Duke's School of Medicine. He won several awards for his skills as a teacher and he served as chair of the Duke Children's Classic, a celebrity golf and tennis tournament that has raised millions of dollars for the pediatrics department.
Katz also served as president of the American Pediatric Society, where he championed the need to treat each child as a complex human being, not just a miniature adult. He is currently active on many national scientific boards and committees, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the National Network for Immunization Information and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Dr. Katz's work has impacted and saved the lives of millions of children worldwide," said John "Jack" Porter III, chairman of the board of directors of Nemours. "That is the very essence of what this award represents -- excellence in children's health care."
As the 2006 award winner, Katz will receive a $50,000 cash prize and an original Steuben Glass sculpture.
Nemours owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., as well as four children's specialty centers in Delaware and Florida. Alfred I. duPont, who lived between 1864 and 1935, was an industrialist who was committed to bettering the lives of children, and served as Nemours' benefactor.