The ASTDA held its annual awards ceremony at the STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta on June 10, 2014. We were pleased to honor 3 individuals for their contributions to our understanding and control of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The ASTDA Distinguished Career Award, recognizing a member for long and distinguished contributions in the field of STD research and prevention, was presented to Dr Franklyn N. Judson. He is a graduate from Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin and training as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiology Intelligence Service Officer at the Colorado Department of Health in 1972, he completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Colorado Medical Center in 1974. For most of his professional life, Dr Judson worked at the Denver Public Health (DPH) Department, first as the director of its Disease Control Service and later as DPH Director. During this time, he also held faculty appointments at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he served as Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine. During his tenure at DPH from 1974 to 2004, the Denver clinics, laboratories, and programs for STD/HIV prevention grew to become a model for an integrative approach to state-of-the-art clinical care, surveillance, research, and training. In addition to his public health career, the research output of the Denver STD Control Program under Dr Judson’s leadership was remarkable. As witnessed by an expansive list of more than 250 publications, he was able to attract significant research funding to the program, including projects sponsored by CDC, the National Institutes of Health, and the private industry. Based on these achievements, Dr Judson has long been recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the area of STD and HIV prevention. From 1990 to 1992, he served in the World Health organization as the Scientific Liaison in the STD (VDT) Program and the new Global Program on AIDS. In addition, he has served as president of all 4 major STD associations: from 1983 to 1985, he was the president of the American Venereal Disease Association (now ASTDA); from 1997 to 1999, he was the president of the International Society of STD Research, hosting the 1999 International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research Meeting in Denver; and, from 2003 to 2005, he was the president of the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections. After his retirement from DPH in 2004, he continued his STD/HIV prevention activities, serving on the President Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The ASTDA Achievement Award is given to an individual for a single recent major achievement in the field of STD research and prevention, or to a midcareer professional to acknowledge an outstanding body of research in sexually transmitted diseases. The 2014 Achievement Award was presented to Christina M. Marra, MD. She is a professor in the Department of Neurology and an adjunct professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr Marra’s research focuses on clinically relevant problems that relate to infections of the nervous system. In 1996, she studied cerebrospinal fluid abnormalities in patients with syphilis. Her goals were to identify which patients with syphilis are at increased risk for neurosyphilis, to identify means to better diagnose neurosyphilis in HIV-infected patients, and to determine the best ways to assess the success of neurosyphilis treatment. She has also worked on identifying molecular differences in strains of Treponema pallidum, and whether there is an association between the clinical manifestations of syphilis, including central nervous system (CNS) disease, and strain type. Dr Marra has also participated in clinical research studies on neurological complications of HIV conducted by the UW AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. Dr Marra is a local co-principal investigator of the UW CHARTER (CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research) site).
The ASTDA Young Investigator Award is given to an outstanding investigator in the field of STD research who is no more than 5 years beyond fellowship training. This award was presented to Christina A. Muzny, MD. She is an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr Muzny obtained her medical degree at the Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center College of Medicine. Her clinical and research interests focus on HIV and STDs (specifically vaginal infections) among difficult-to-reach populations of women, including lesbian and bisexual women and women with increased numbers of recent sexual partners. She successfully developed the first cohort of African American lesbian and bisexual women studied for sexual behavior and sexual risks while working at the Mississippi State Department of Health STD clinic. Dr Muzny is the principal investigator of the Women’s Sexual Health Project (a second cohort study of African American lesbian and bisexual women) as well as the High Risk Women Study at the Jefferson County Health Department STD clinic. She is part of the teaching faculty for the AL-NC STD/HIV Prevention Training Center as well as an Associate Scientist for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for AIDS Research.