News Release: People

Nov. 1,  2010

Emory Public Health Expert Elected President of Infectious Diseases Society of America

James M. Hughes, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases in Emory University School of Medicine and professor of global health in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, has been elected president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). He took office during the organization’s 48th meeting held recently in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Hughes is the first IDSA president who comes primarily from the field of public health. He serves as executive director of the Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats (SECEBT); director of the Emory Program in Global Infectious Diseases; senior advisor, Emory Center for Global Safe Water; and senior scientific advisor for infectious diseases, International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPH).

“Dr. Hughes is an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases, and he has played a significant role in addressing some of the most challenging public health issues especially in the area of emerging and re-emerging microbial threats. ” says David Stephens, MD, vice president for research in Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in Emory School of Medicine. “The IDSA will be well served by his leadership and his expertise.”

Prior to joining Emory in June 2005, Hughes worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), serving as director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and as a rear admiral and an assistant surgeon general in the U.S. Public Health Service. He first joined CDC as a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1973. He served as director of CDC’s Hospital Infections Program from 1983 to 1988, as NCID deputy director from 1988-1992, and as NCID director from 1992-2005.

Hughes received his BA and MD from Stanford University and completed his postgraduate training and board certification in internal medicine (University of Washington), infectious diseases (University of Virginia), and preventive medicine (CDC). He is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as well as numerous other national and international professional societies.

He served on the Board of Directors of the Infectious Diseases Society of America from 2004-2007 and is currently a member of the Council of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He also serves as a member of the International Board of the American Society for Microbiology, as council delegate for the Section on Medical Sciences of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as vice chair for the Forum on Microbial Threats of the Institute of Medicine.

Among his honors and awards are the Distinguished and Meritorious Service Medals and the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service; the Secretary’s Open Forum Distinguished Public Service Award from the Department of State; the CDC Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award; the Gen–Probe Joseph Award from the American Society for Microbiology for "exemplary leadership and service in the field of public health," and the Jonathan M. Mann Memorial Lectureship from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

“We are extremely proud that Dr. Hughes has been elected to this key national position,” says Carlos del Rio, MD, chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health in the Rollins School of Public Health and also a Board Member of the IDSA. “Dr. Hughes’ proven leadership skills and his broad knowledge of infectious diseases and global public health issues make him an ideal person to direct this influential organization.”

IDSA represents over 9,300 physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. Its purpose is to improve the health of individuals, communities and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health and prevention programs relating to infectious diseases.

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