November 17, 2020

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NFID Will Also Honor Public Health Heroes at Virtual 2020 Awards Gala

Bethesda, MD (November 17, 2020)—The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) will honor several individuals for their significant and lasting contributions to public health:

2021 NFID Awardees
The following awards will be presented at the 2021 NFID Awards Gala in late 2021:

Anita KM ZaidiAnita K.M. Zaidi, MBBS, SM, director of Vaccine Development, Surveillance, and Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases, and president of Gender Equality at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will receive the 2021 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian efforts and achievements that have contributed significantly to improving global health through international activities. Dr. Zaidi has dedicated her career to vaccine development and disease prevention in the poorest parts of the world. She led the strategy for typhoid conjugate vaccines, oral cholera vaccine stockpile enhancement, and development of the first low-cost rotavirus vaccine by a developing country manufacturer. She currently co-leads the program for novel coronavirus vaccines at the Gates Foundation. Prior to joining Gates, her work on newborn health and vaccination in Karachi’s poverty-stricken fishing communities was estimated to have reduced child mortality by 65 percent. “When Anita spots an inequity, she is determined, passionate, and fearless in her pursuit of assuring that the least advantaged are not left behind,” said Orin S. Levine, PhD, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

William A Petri JrWilliam A. Petri, Jr., MD, PhD, vice chair for research and former chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health at the University of Virginia Department of Medicine, will receive the 2021 Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement in recognition of his seminal discoveries of the mechanisms that gut microbes use to evade and exploit the microbiota and mucosal immune system, leading to innovative approaches to diagnose and treat diarrheal diseases and prevent their collateral damage on child growth and development. Dr. Petri is an internationally renowned scientist and a pioneer in the study of enteric infections. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Petri has discovered in humans an immune response that is associated with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection and has gone on to demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy in a mouse model. In presenting the 2021 Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement to Dr. Petri, NFID recognizes his role as the world’s premier investigator on diarrhea as well as a consummate physician-scientist and leader. “Bill ideally personifies the lifelong dedication to outstanding research, patient care, and teaching that Dr. Finland so exemplified,” said Richard L. Guerrant, MD, of the Center for Global Health at the University of Virginia.

Walter A Orenstein MDWalter A. Orenstein, MD, will receive the 2021 John P. Utz Leadership Award in recognition of his long-standing service to NFID and his leadership in US and global vaccine policy development and implementation. Dr. Orenstein has held multiple NFID leadership roles, including past president, and contributed greatly to the growth and visibility of the organization, over more than 15 years of service. As director of the National Immunization Program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he oversaw efforts that led to record high immunization coverage associated with record low vaccine-preventable disease incidence, including elimination of indigenous measles. During his leadership, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices established consensus immunization schedules for children and adults, supported by major medical and public health organizations. Under his tenure at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded to support immunization programs throughout the world. “His knowledge of the field, steady guidance, and his calm, well-organized approach to problem-solving have helped move NFID to its position as a leading organization for the education of the public and healthcare professionals,” said NFID Immediate Past President Joseph A. Bocchini, Jr., MD, of Willis-Knighton Health System.

2020 NFID Awardees

The originally planned presentation of the 2020 awards was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will now take place virtually at the 2020 NFID Awards Gala on December 14, 2020 at 6:00 PM ET.

Penny M. Heaton, MD, will receive the 2020 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of her leadership in developing vaccines that have saved millions of lives, including vaccines to prevent rotavirus, influenza, and meningococcal disease.

Claire V. Broome, MD, will receive the 2020 Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement for her profound influence on global vaccine policy-making, including advising the World Health Organization and other organizations on vaccines, disease burden and surveillance, and outbreak detection and response.

Richard J. Whitley, MD, will receive the 2020 John P. Utz Leadership Award in recognition of his leadership in the field of clinical virology, his expertise in how antiviral therapies fight infections in children and adults, and his current efforts to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential vaccines for COVID-19.

Tickets to the virtual 2020 Awards Gala are available online at All contributions support the NFID mission to educate the public and healthcare professionals on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit for more information about NFID.

Contact: Diana Olson,, 301-656-0003 x140

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