Today, the International AIDS Society (IAS) honored Dr. Jack Whitescarver, Associate Director for AIDS Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research, for his outstanding commitment to the global fight against HIV, and his pioneering work in the field. During the closing session of the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) in Vienna, Austria, Dr. Whitescarver became the first recipient of the IAS Presidential Award.
The award recognizes the achievements of an individual who demonstrates a long history of leadership and excellence as a pioneer or advocate at the forefront of the response to HIV and AIDS. The award highlights an individual’s contribution that results in increased knowledge, skills, creative solutions or evidence-based policies and programs to enhance the global response to AIDS.
The award was presented by IAS President Dr. Julio Montaner of Canada and incoming IAS President Elly Katabira of Uganda. “Dr. Whitescarver has been a supporter of innovation in HIV research since the emergence of the epidemic,” said Montaner, “He has worked tirelessly to strengthen research capacity, to support the work of younger investigators and to ensure that new scientific research benefits the millions infected with HIV and AIDS.”
Dr. Whitescarver serves as both the NIH Associate Director for AIDS Research and as Director of the Office of AIDS Research. He received his doctorate degree in medical microbiology in 1974 from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), following which he pursued his post-doctoral research at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1977, Dr. Whitescarver completed a year in the NIH Grants Associates Program and became the Special Assistant to the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). It was during this tenure that Dr. Whitescarver first reported to the NIAID on the possibility of the emergence of a new infectious disease, now known as AIDS, and he helped develop the initial federal response for research on AIDS. In 1988, Dr. Whitescarver was recruited as the Deputy Director of the newly established Office of AIDS Research (OAR) at the NIH. He served as Acting Director of the OAR from October 2000 until June 2002, when he was named its permanent Director. During his tenure, he has launched visionary domestic and international research and training initiatives to meet the ever-changing challenges of the epidemic.