The Union recognises major contributions to lung health through its annual awards

This year The Union presented four awards, and hosted a further two, at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, India. The awards are an important and valued way to recognise the work being conducted by those dedicated to lung health around the world.

The Karel Styblo Public Health Prize acknowledges a health worker or a community organisation for contributions to tuberculosis (TB) control over a period of 10 years or more. The winner, Noleen Dirkse, was recognised for her outstanding contribution to her local community of Knysna in the Western Cape of South Africa, where she does all she can to assist people diagnosed with HIV, AIDS and TB, and is a TB survivor herself.

This year’s Union Scientific Prize was awarded to Dr Katharina Kranzer, an epidemiologist and a clinical microbiologist. Dr Kranzer is Clinical Associate Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and the Biomedical Research and Training Institute in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is also Honorary Clinical Consultant in Microbiology at University College London Hospital. The prize, which acknowledges researchers at any stage of a person’s career for work on TB or lung health published in the past five years, recognised Dr Kranzer’s exemplary work characterised by the appropriate use of research methods across different disciplines with an emphasis on collaboration and capacity building.

The Union Young Investigator Prize is an award that acknowledges a researcher for work in lung health published in the past five years, when aged 35 years or younger. This year, the two highest ranking nominations were very difficult to separate, and for this reason, The Union decided to share the award between two very worthy scientists. Dr Gustavo Velasquez and Dr Stephanus Malherbe were joint recipients of this award.

Dr Gustavo Velásquez, an infectious disease physician and clinical researcher based at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, USA. Dr Velásquez has been devoted to developing safe, tolerable, and effective treatment regimens for drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB.

Dr Stephanus Malherbe is lead clinician of the department of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, whose pioneering work in clinical operations for TB biomarker and immunology research has been widely published.

Dr Sean Wasserman, Senior Lecturer and Consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town was awarded the 2019 Stephen Lawn TB-HIV Research Leadership Prize.. The prize, established through a global partnership between the LSHTM’s TB Centre, the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town and The Union, acknowledges young researchers under 40 years of age who are conducting promising work focused on reducing the disease burden of TB and HIV/AIDS in Africa. Dr Wasserman is an outstanding investigator who has already made impactful contributions in the field of TB-HIV research.

In addition to The Union’s own awards, two further prizes were awarded during the Union World Conference. The first is the prestigious Princess Chichibu Memorial TB Global Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to global TB control. This year the award, presented by the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association, was presented to Dr Amina Jindani, a globally recognised specialist in the field of TB research.

The Kochon Prize, which is annually awarded by Stop TB Partnership to individuals and/or organisations that have made a significant contribution to combating TB, was awarded to Kenyan non-governmental organisation KELIN, whose goal is to advocate for a holistic and rights-based system of service delivery in health and for the full enjoyment of the right to health by all, including those who are vulnerable, marginalised, and excluded.

Nominations for the 2020 Union Awards will open in early 2020, and will be presented at the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health. To find out more about Union Awards in advance of making a nomination, please consult The Union website and watch out for announcements regarding the launch early next year.

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