News Release:

Nov. 7,  2011

Ronald McDonald House Charities Honors Emory Vaccine Leader

Dr. Walter A. Orenstein honored for outstanding leadership and commitment to child immunization

News Article Image(l-r) Marty Coyne, president and CEO of RMHC; Dr. Walter A. Orenstein, RMHC Medical Award of Excellence honoree; and Dr. David G. Poplack, Global Board of Trustees for RMHC

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has honored Walter A. Orenstein, MD with its RMHC Medical Award of Excellence for his contributions to the area of immunizations for U.S. children and around the world.

The award was presented Saturday, Nov. 5 at the RMHC 27th Annual Awards of Excellence celebration in Rosemont, Ill., honoring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improve the lives of children.

Orenstein is a pediatrician, teacher and tireless proponent of immunizations. He is an associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center and director of the Emory/UGA Influenza Pathogenesis and Immunology Research Center.

During his 26-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he had an extraordinary impact on the health of children throughout the United States and around the world. He oversaw major developments including the achievement of record high immunization levels in U.S. children, the elimination of indigenous transmission of measles and the introduction of multiple vaccines into our nation’s immunization program, including vaccines to protect against meningitis, pneumonia and hepatitis B, the first vaccine to protect against a form of cancer.

“We rely on strong partnerships with the medical community to help bridge the access to health care for children around the world. As a testament to these relationships, we are pleased to recognize Dr. Orenstein for his continued contributions in public health and dedication to the health of children worldwide,” said Marty Coyne, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“Like RMHC, Dr. Orenstein is committed to being part of the solution in providing care for children so they can lead fulfilling and productive lives.”

Orenstein was awarded a $100,000 grant, which he is donating equally to nonprofit children’s organizations serving children –– Every Child by Two, Emory Pediatrics, the Friends of Children Fund of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and the Jewish Family and Career Services. 

Orenstein joined Emory University in 2004, and was director of the Emory Program for Vaccine Policy and Development and professor of medicine and pediatrics. He then served for three years as deputy director for immunization programs in the Vaccine Delivery Division of the Global Health Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before returning to Emory in 2011.

Orenstein is co-editor of the encyclopedic textbook Vaccines. He was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 2006 and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Wake Forest University that same year. 

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