Newswise — Philadelphia, Pa, Oct. 18, 2011 – A prominent physician-scientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Paul Offit, M.D., has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the Academy of Natural Sciences. For three decades, Dr. Offit has been a leading researcher in the fields of virology and immunology, and a well-respected and outspoken voice on the science, safety and value of childhood vaccinations.
The IOM today announced the election of 65 new members from throughout the United States, in recognition of their major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. Established in 1970 by the Academy of Natural Sciences, the IOM honors professional achievements in the health sciences and serves as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences, and health. Current members of the Institute elect new members from a slate of candidates nominated for their professional achievement.
Dr. Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center and chief of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, Dr. Offit holds the Maurice R. Hilleman Endowed Chair in Vaccinology and is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
During his tenure as a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, Dr. Offit’s work includes 25 years spent dedicated to developing RotaTeq, one of two vaccines currently used to fight rotavirus, a disease that is the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children. RotaTeq is recommended for universal use in infants by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has the capacity to save as many as 2,000 lives per day.
He is also one of the most public faces of the scientific consensus that vaccines have no association with autism. Through his advocacy, Dr. Offit has successfully cut through misinformation and helped to educate parents on the health benefits of vaccinating their children. In addition to hundreds of academic articles, he is the author of four critically-acclaimed medical narratives which have sought to educate parents and bring scientific research back into the discussion on vaccination decisions.
Offit is the eighth CHOP physician or researcher to be elected to IOM. After receiving his bachelor of science degree from Tufts University, he earned a medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Offit completed his residency at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and his fellowship in Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
About The Vaccine Education Center
The Vaccine Education Center was formed in October 2000 to provide accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent. The Vaccine Education Center is funded by endowed chairs from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The Center does not receive support from vaccine companies. For more information about vaccines, visit the Vaccine Education Center websites at vaccine.chop.edu and vaccine.chop.edu/parents.