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Samuel L. Katz, M.D., Receives 2003 Sabin Gold Medal

Published April 29, 2003 | Updated January 20, 2016

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Duke Health News919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- Samuel Katz, M.D., the Wilburt Cornell Davison Professor and chairman emeritus of pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center, will be honored May 6 with the Sabin Gold Medal. The award is presented annually by the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute to recognize exemplary contributions to disease prevention.

Katz is widely recognized for many contributions to children's health, including his role in developing the measles vaccine in use today. While a staff member at Boston Children's Hospital, Katz worked in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate John Enders to develop the attenuated measles virus vaccine.

"It is a tremendous honor to be selected by my peers and it is most gratifying to join the esteemed company of the previous recipients of the award," Katz said.

The Sabin Vaccine Institute was founded in 1993 in memory of Albert Sabin, M.D., developer of the oral polio vaccine. The institute aims to save lives by stimulating development of new vaccines and increasing immunization rates throughout the world. Katz is the 10th person to receive the Sabin Gold Medal.

"Samuel Katz exemplifies a rare sort of commitment and perseverance that culminates in life-saving medical discoveries," said H.R. Shepard, chairman of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. "The global benefit of the measles vaccine alone is tremendous and can be realized even further with amplified immunization rates."

According to Peter Hotez, M.D., chairman of the Sabin Institute's Scientific Advisory Council, "Since the measles vaccine was implemented widely through the Expanded Program on Immunization in 1974, the number of childhood deaths from measles decreased from roughly 7 million deaths per year to now less than 800,000 deaths per year."

An honors graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Medical School, Katz completed an internship at Beth Israel Hospital followed by a residency in pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Children's Hospital. He also completed a research fellowship in virology and infectious diseases at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Katz joined the Duke faculty as chairman of pediatrics in 1968 and led the department until 1990. Today he continues to be active in vaccine policy development and pediatric HIV/AIDS research and care. He serves on the National Institutes of Health Committee for AIDS Vaccines, co-chairs the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Program and the National Network for Immunization Information.

Katz will receive his award and present a lecture May 6 in Arlington, Va., at the sixth Annual Conference on Vaccine Research, a scientific meeting organized by the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

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