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Emory AIDS pioneerhonored with national award

ATLANTA - James W. Curran, MD, MPH, dean of Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award.

Established in 2009 by the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention (RCAP), the award recognizes significant national contributions to AIDS/STD prevention. RCAP is a joint project of Indiana University, University of Colorado and the University of Kentucky with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop received the honor in 2010.

Curran will be honored at a luncheon on April 9 during RCAP's seventh national conference being held at Indiana University Bloomington and focusing on the urgent need to address AIDS/HIV-related issues among African Americans. He will also give the keynote address.

Curran, a professor of epidemiology at Emory and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research, led the HIV research and prevention efforts of the CDC during the early days of the AIDS epidemic. He played a key role in the interactions between the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in their attempts to investigate and understand the cause and epidemiology of AIDS and was a leader in the efforts of the two agencies to develop an understanding of the international context of the AIDS epidemic.

"James Curran has had a long history of being a national leader in AIDS prevention. We're recognizing him for that, but particularly for his superb leadership at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic," says RCAP senior director William L. Yarber.

"He faced enormous barriers -- lack of recognition by the federal government of the importance of this epidemic and the lack of resources available to combat AIDS," adds Yarber. "He was very effective at navigating through all those barriers and leading the CDC's efforts to try to control HIV/AIDS."

Curran has held his current position since 1995 and holds joint appointments in the Emory School of Medicine, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He has written more than 260 scientific publications and serves on numerous non-profit boards and committees locally, nationally and internationally. In 2009 he received a unique recognition by becoming Emory's first endowed chair in honor of a sitting dean. Curran is, and his successors will be, known as the James W. Curran Dean of Public Health.


Contact: Jennifer Johnson
Emory University

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