Whitley receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Richard Whitley, M.D., Distinguished Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pediatrics, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Alexander Fleming Award for lifetime achievement.

According to the IDSA, the Alexander Fleming Award for lifetime achievement is given “in recognition of a career that reflects major contributions to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge about infectious diseases.”

“To be recognized by the IDSA, my peers and the infectious diseases community for my commitment to the study and field of infectious diseases is humbling and overwhelming,” Whitley said. “Receiving this prestigious award affirms the commitment I made to the study and development of therapies for emerging diseases, mentoring of fellows, and serving of patients that I have been proud to be a part of and look forward to continuing to do.”

An expert on how antiviral therapies fight infections in children and adults, throughout his four-decade career, Whitley has published more than 373 articles on pediatric infectious diseases, was appointed by President Barack Obama to an advisory panel surrounding preparations for the pandemic flu, served as past president of the IDSA, and treated thousands of patients at UAB and Children’s of Alabama.

He is also responsible for the NIH-funded Antiviral Drug Discovery and Development Center, whose purpose is to discover potential new drugs that could be used to treat infections such as West Nile virus and influenza that routinely infect United States citizens and for which there are limited or no treatments.

Whitley also serves as vice chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, co-division director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and associate director of Drug Discovery and Development in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.