Columbia pediatricians, Anne Gershon and Richard Polin, awarded top honors

October 10, 2006

New York, NY - October 10, 2006 - An infectious disease specialist and a neonatologist from the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center and Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian have been awarded top honors from two of the most prestigious medical associations in their fields. Anne Gershon, M.D. was recently named vice president and president-elect of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), while Richard Polin, M.D. received the annual Neonatal Education Award in Perinatal Pediatrics from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"I am thrilled that Dr. Gershon and Dr. Polin have been acknowledged by their peers for their invaluable professional contributions, both to pediatrics and infectious disease," said John Driscoll, M.D., chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center and director of Pediatrics at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian.

"Dr. Polin is a first-rate clinician and top-notch researcher; his tireless efforts to improve neonatal health make him the perfect candidate for such high and visible recognition," added Dr. Driscoll. "And Dr. Gershon's appointment is especially distinctive - it is a testament to Dr. Gershon's work that as a pediatric specialist she has been elected to a top leadership role within our nation's most prestigious infectious disease professional organization."

Dr. Gershon, professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease within the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center, is best known for her work on the chicken pox vaccine. She has played a major role in its evaluation and eventual licensure in the United States.

A nationally known expert in herpes virus infections, antiviral therapy, HIV infection, and vaccines, Dr. Gershon is also principal investigator of Columbia's Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, conducted at the Women and Children's Care Center at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. She and a dedicated staff of colleagues have cared for more than 200 children with HIV/AIDS and their families since 1989. She is also an attending physician at the hospital. Dr. Gershon will become vice president of IDSA later this year and will assume the helm of the organization in 2008.

Dr. Gershon is the author of more than 250 publications and she has edited 11 books. She lectures nationally and internationally, most often regarding varicella and zoster vaccines.

Dr. Polin, professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Neonatology within the Department of Pediatrics, and director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, is renowned for his work on developmental immunology and neonatal immunity. He helped oversee a recent clinical trial showing that a head cooling device known as the "Cool Cap" can prevent brain damage in oxygen-deprived newborns, yielding the first conclusive evidence that many birth-related neurological problems can be reversed.

Dr. Polin has edited more than 17 textbooks. He lectures extensively nationally and internationally and for more than 10 years has run annual courses for Eastern European Neonatologists on behalf of the American Austrian Foundation.

Dr. Polin received his honor from the AAP at its national conference in Atlanta. The special presentation of the Neonatal Education Award in Perinatal Pediatrics, designed to recognize an individual who has made outstanding and enduring contributions to excellence in neonatal and perinatal medicine, was presented by Dr. Driscoll during the AAP's Section on Perinatal Pediatrics.
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The Infectious Diseases Society of America represents physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. IDSA's purpose is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases.

Founded in 1930, The American Academy of Pediatrics and its member pediatricians dedicate their efforts and resources to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The AAP has approximately 60,000 members in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Members include pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists. More than 34,000 members are board-certified and called Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP).

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, nurses, dentists, and public health professionals at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the Mailman School of Public Health, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. www.cumc.columbia.edu

Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian ; Ranked by U. S. News & World Reports as the #6 children's hospital in the country, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics--including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties--in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is New York City's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and the largest provider of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide. www.childrensnyp.org

Columbia University Medical Center

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