Friday, September 14, 2012
Lynne Mofenson, M.D., Chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch, received the Federal Employee of the Year Award from the Partnership for Public Service. The award is one of nine Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals bestowed on public servants who make “high-impact contributions to the health, safety and well-being of Americans.”
Dr. Mofenson was recognized for playing a pivotal role in preventing the AIDS epidemic among U.S. children, helping to design and conduct a pivotal clinical trial that led to an effective means to prevent pregnant women from passing HIV on to their infants, and for dedicating her career to conducting additional research on HIV and influencing national HIV policy.
In 1989, when Dr. Mofenson came to the NICHD, 25 to 35 percent of all infants born to HIV positive mothers were themselves HIV positive. A landmark research study published by Dr. Mofenson and her colleagues in 1994 showed that use of the anti HIV drug zidovudine (AZT) reduced the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to 8.3 percent. Dr. Mofenson’s further collaborations led to other successful strategies for blocking mother-to-child transmission. She later chaired a U.S. Public Health Service task force that made national recommendations on preventing pediatric AIDS infection and later worked to implement these recommendations. Currently, there are fewer than 100 new mother-to-child HIV cases in U.S. each year. Today, Dr. Mofenson continues to work with colleagues in this country around the world to reduce mother to child HIV transmission.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.