At the National STD Prevention Conference meeting in Jacksonville, May 8 to 11, 2006, the ASTDA held its annual awards ceremony. We were pleased to honor 3 individuals for their contributions to our understanding and control of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The ASTDA Young Investigator Award was presented to Laura Bachmann from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the Achievement Award was presented to David H. Martin from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at New Orleans. Sevgi O. Aral, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was the recipient of the 2006 Thomas Parran Award. Her award lecture was given at the Awards Presentations ceremony, and it appears in this issue starting on page xx.
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The Thomas Parran Award recognizes a member for long and distinguished contributions in the field of STD research and prevention. Sevgi O. Aral received her BS degree from Middle East Tech University in Turkey, her MA in demography from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD and MA in social psychology from Emory University. Dr. Aral came to the CDC in 1978 to begin a career in STD research and by 1993 became the Associate Director for Science in the Division of STD Prevention, where she is responsible for the oversight and direction of all scientific activities, including the intramural and extramural research programs and science program interactions. In addition to her appointment at the CDC, Dr. Aral has been a professor of sociology in the United States and Turkey and is currently a clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Aral has served in a variety of capacities for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Union (EU), and the World Bank. She has been a member of several study sections for the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Mental Health; and has worked as a consultant for the WHO, the EU, and the World Bank on numerous occasions in many countries, including lengthy periods where she was on temporary assignment to the WHO and the EU on invitation.
Dr. Aral’s work has focused on risk and preventive behaviors, gender differences, societal characteristics that influence STD and HIV rates, contextual issues, and effects of distinct types of sexual mixing on STD spread. Her research has been in both domestic and international settings, and her writings have included crosscultural comparative analyses.
Sevgi Aral is on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, including STD, AIDS Education and Prevention, and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). She is an Associate Editor of STD and of STI. In the past, she has served multiple terms on the editorial boards of AIDS and the American Journal of Public Health. Dr. Aral has over 180 publications on social and behavioral aspects of STD.
David H. Martin was the recipient of the ASTDA Achievement Award. He is the first Harry E. Dascomb, MD, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology, and Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. He received his MD from the Harvard School of Medicine and served an internal medicine internship at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center/Albert Einstein Medical School, Bronx, New York, in 1969–1970. From 1970–1973, he served as a Staff Associate at the NIH, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Middle American Research Unit in the Panama Canal Zone. During this time, he worked with Karl M. Johnston, MD, on the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus. After this, Dr. Martin did his medical residency at University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals and was chief resident at the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Hospital in Seattle, Washington. He trained as an infectious diseases specialist at that same institution where his research mentor was King K. Holmes, MD. Leaving Seattle in 1979, he moved to the USPHS Hospital in New Orleans, where he was the Deputy Director of the Clinical Research Unit and initiated studies of Chlamydia trachomatis infections in pregnant women. In 1982, he began work at the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, where he went on to develop the STD training and research program now in place at that institution. He is board-certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He is past president of the ISSTDR, the ASTDA, and the Louisiana/Mississippi Infectious Diseases Society. He has served on numerous CDC expert panels in the areas of treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of STDs. He has served on several NIH ad hoc review panels for large program projects and clinical trials focused on STDs, HIV infection, and chlamydial infections. Currently, he serves as the Director of the NIAID-funded Gulf South STI/Topical Microbicides Cooperative Research Center. Additionally, he serves on the Scientific Review Committee of the NIAID’s STI Clinical Trials Group. Research interests include molecular methods of diagnosing sexually transmitted infections, the use of molecular methods for studying their epidemiology, treatment of STDs, the epidemiology of C. trachomatis in nonclinic settings, and the role of Mycoplasma genitalium in STDs. A new interest is the use of molecular methods for better understanding the vaginal bacterial ecosystem. He has published over 250 papers, book chapters, and abstracts on these and related topics.