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 Prologues of Public Health

Four researchers key to the development of oral rehydration therapy (ORT), hailed by The Lancet as “the most important medical discovery of the 20th century,” are the recipients of the first Pollin Prize in Pediatric Research. The unique new international award, announced in November 2002, recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement in biomedical or public health research related to the health of children. All four scientists, whose work with ORT coalesced in India in the late 1960s and early 1970s, have links to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:

  • Norbert Hirschhorn, MD, currently a consultant with the Yale/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Health Promotion Policy and Research at Yale’s School of Medicine, served on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health and Medicine in the early 1970s.
  • Dilip Mahalanabis, director of the Society for Applied Studies in Calcutta, India, was the chief informant on cholera research at the Johns Hopkins International Center for Medical Research and Training in Calcutta in the early 1970s.
  • David R. Nalin, MD, now with the Merck Vaccine Division, was a research associate and assistant professor at the School from 1971 to 1976.
  • Nathaniel F. Pierce, MD, is currently professor of International Health and Disease Prevention Control at the School.

The scientists received a $100,000 award, as well as a $100,000 fellowship stipend to be assigned by them to a young investigator conducting research in an area related to their work in oral rehydration.
 The Pollin Prize was created by Irene and Abe Pollin and their family of Chevy Chase, Maryland. The prize is funded by the Linda and Kenneth Pollin Foundation and administered by New York-Presbyterian Hospital. —SM

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