CHOP Vaccine Researcher Elected to Institute of Medicine

Published on in CHOP News

October 18, 2011 — A prominent physician-scientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Paul Offit, MD, 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.

IOM honors major contributions to advancement of medical sciences, healthcare and public health

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, healthcare 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 prominent in vaccine research and advocacy

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.