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Schaffner honored by Infectious Diseases Society of America

Dec. 6, 2018, 10:33 AM

by Craig Boerner

William Schaffner, MD, professor of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Health Policy and professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, is the recipient of the 2018 D.A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Health.

William Schaffner, MD

The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) presented the award during 2018 IDWeek in San Francisco as recognition for a lifetime of achievement in public health and his “outstanding contributions to infectious diseases,” according to Paul Auwaerter, MD, IDSA president.

Schaffner’s contributions have spanned the spectrum, ranging from creating new infectious disease science, translating the science into progressive health policy and advocating for the advances with the public.

He chaired Vanderbilt’s Department of Preventive Medicine for more than 30 years, was chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases for seven years, medical director of the clinical microbiology laboratory for 11 years and led Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s infection control program for 35 years.

Schaffner is one of the pioneers in infection control at hospitals, establishing the first major hospital infection control program in Nashville, which has become the standard of excellence.

He and his team taught infection control personnel in Nashville and Tennessee hospitals, contributing to safer hospital admissions for thousands of patients over the years. He also is nationally known as an advocate for immunization.

“I can think of no better champion for public health than Bill Schaffner,” said David Aronoff, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Disease at VUMC. “His dedicated service to the public good has shaped health care policy for the better. Bill is also a peerless communicator, serving as the “go-to expert” for media outlets worldwide. He is so deserving of this prestigious honor.”

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