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Otago tropical medicine expert receives prestigious award

Sun striking the Clocktower

Monday 19 November 2012 12:23pm

John CrumpProfessor John Crump, McKinlay Chair in Global Health

A leading University of Otago tropical medicine researcher has received the highest honour of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

Professor John Crump, who holds the University’s McKinlay Chair in Global Health, was presented with the Bailey K. Ashford Medal at the ASTMH’s recent annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Ashford Medal is awarded annually for distinguished work in tropical medicine to a worker in his or her mid-career.

Professor Crump received the medal in recognition of his major contributions to understanding non-malaria fever and enteric infections in low-resource areas, and for his work on ethics issues for global health training programmes. Dr Eric Mintz of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and ASTMH president Professor James Kazura, presented the award.

The nomination for the Medal describes Professor Crump as “a multi-talented tropical medicine physician and scientist with extensive field experience and diverse interests dedicated to addressing global health challenges and developing future scientists.”

Alongside his position at Otago, he is also Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Global Health with Duke University Medical Center; and a Guest Researcher with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He graduated from Otago Medical School in 1993 and trained as both an internist in infectious diseases and as a pathologist in medical microbiology, completing residencies or fellowships at Christchurch Hospital; the Royal Free Hospital, London; Canberra Hospital; Duke University Medical Center; and with the CDC.

His main interests are in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases in developing countries, with particular emphases on fever, invasive bacterial disease, bacterial zoonoses, enteric infections, HIV, and tuberculosis.

Before joining the University of Otago’s Centre for International Health in late 2011, he lived in Moshi, Tanzania, for 10 years serving as the Founding Director of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center Clinical Research Site and Director of Duke Tanzania Operations for the Duke Global Health Institute. Under his leadership, the programme grew to employ more than 50 fulltime staff and numerous trainees, hosting a range of US National Institutes of Health-funded research and training programmes.

Professor Crump’s work bridges clinical infectious diseases, medical microbiology, and epidemiology and he has authored more than 100 papers in the international scientific literature. In the world of enteric diseases he is probably best known for authoring the current estimate of the global burden of typhoid fever, a field where he has also made important methodological contributions.

His work in Tanzania focuses on the syndrome of fever, particularly causes other than malaria. In the United States, he has made important contributions on antimicrobial management and susceptibility testing of invasive Salmonella strains. Professor Crump’s work on enteric infections extends beyond invasive Salmonella; he led a large cluster-randomised controlled trial of household-based water treatment in Kisumu, Kenya, which was the first to suggest a protective effect of household-based water treatment against all-cause mortality.

About the Bailey K. Ashford Medal:

At the age of 26, Bailey K. Ashford, a physician with the U.S. Army Medical Corps, recognised in 1899 that hookworms caused the anaemia prevalent among the rural populations of Puerto Rico. In 1904 he founded the Puerto Rico Anemia Commission to combat the disease. The ASTMH was founded in 1903 to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the global poor. The first Ashford Medal was awarded in 1941.