The Union Medal and Honorary Membership were conferred on three long-time Union members at the General Assembly in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday, 1 November 2014. Honorary membership is a lifetime status granted to a person who has become distinguished through active participation in The Union's activities and the fulfillment of its goals. These special members serve as informal advisors to The Union on a wide variety of issues. The Union Medal, The Union’s highest honour, is awarded to members who have made an outstanding contribution to the control of tuberculosis or lung health by their scientific work and/or actions in the field.
The Union Medal: Prof Jacques Grosset
Prof Jacques Grosset has been conducting research on tuberculosis and mycobacterial infections for the past 60 years. His contributions have helped shape the modern treatment of tuberculosis, leprosy, M. avium-complex disease, Buruli ulcer (M. ulcerans), M. xenopii and other infections. He has developed the animal models to evaluate new drugs and regimens for all of these conditions, and has been involved in evaluating almost every new drug for mycobacterial infections in the past 50 years. Along with Denis Mitchison and Wallace Fox, he is substantially responsible for the modern chemotherapy of tuberculosis. Because of his work, treatment is shorter, safer, and new drugs and drug combinations have entered the marketplace.
In addition, Prof Grosset has translated the scientific output of his laboratory and of others by shaping policy for the control of TB and leprosy, most notably by leading the World Health Organization committees overseeing global leprosy and TB control for more than a dozen years.
Prof Grosset is himself a TB survivor, and he has lived several lives. After a long career in Paris with the Pasteur Institute, instead of retiring, he moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. When asked to help start the KRITH program in Durban, he again moved his life and started over in South Africa.
The author of more than 300 published papers, Prof Grosset has remained active in his 80s, having recently received an NIH grant to study clofazimine for the treatment of drug-susceptible TB. He also continues to mentor young investigators in South Africa and the United States.
Prof Grosset is an indefatigable opponent of TB, leprosy and stigmatising diseases of the poor, who has devoted his long and productive professional life to reducing the burden of mycobacterial diseases. The combination of his scientific contributions and his policy achievements make him the ideal candidate to receive The Union Medal in 2014, shortly following his 85th birthday.
Honorary Member: Prof Andrew Nunn
Professor Andrew Nunn is Associate Director and Senior Statistician at the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Trials Unit at the University College London. He has been a statistician for the MRC for close to 40 years. He originally worked under the leadership of Prof Wallace Fox and served as senior statistician for the landmark trials in East and Central Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore that led to the international adoption of short-course chemotherapy for tuberculosis. He went to work for close to a decade with MRC Programme on AIDS in Uganda.
On returning to the UK in 1995, he joined the HIV Clinical Trials Centre and recommenced his involvement in tuberculosis research. In 1998, he was asked to lead the division responsible for developing trials in neglected areas. During this time his work coincided with initiatives in drug development launched by the TB Alliance. He was also the statistician/investigator on The Union’s major clinical trials, Study A and Study C. He is currently co-chief investigator on the Union sponsored multi-centred STREAM trial, which is assessing the 9-month regimen for the treatment of MDR-TB. Prof Nunn has been an associate editor of the International Journal of Tuberculosis & Lung Disease since 2009 and is a widely sought-after lecturer, consultant and advisor.
Honorary Member: Lee B Reichman
Dr Lee B Reichman is a world-renowned international expert in the field of tuberculosis and lung health. He was the Founder and, until June 2014, Executive Director of the Global Tuberculosis Institute at Rutgers University and Professor of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the New Jersey Medical School. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers in 1974, Dr Reichman served as Director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control and Assistant Commissioner of Health at the New York City Health Department and chaired several committees for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr Reichman has been involved with The Union for 40 years, and has served internationally as Chair of the Executive Committee and Council, regionally as President of the North America Region. He has published over 200 articles, scientific reviews and book chapters on tuberculosis and other infectious lung diseases. Among his other honours, he received the highest award from the American Lung Association, the Will Ross Medal.