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January 7, 2011

Eric Houpt, MD, recognized for work in tropical medicine

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has awarded its 2010 Bailey K. Ashford Medal to Eric Houpt, MD, an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

The medal is awarded for distinguished work in tropical medicine to a scientist in his or her early or mid-career. Dr. Houpt won the medal for his many contributions to the research and teaching of infectious disease, including the understanding of gastrointestinal diseases. In addition, Dr. Houpt was recognized for developing criteria for core competencies in global health and novel molecular approaches to the diagnosis of enteric infection.

Dr Houpt’s area of expertise is in enteric infections, tuberculosis, and international health. He has served as principal investigator for several NIH grants in these areas.

Dr. Houpt also manages two field sites in Tanzania that focus on molecular diagnostics, diarrhea, and malnutrition, work for which he has attracted both NIH and Gates Foundation funding.

Dr. Houpt has been described by colleagues “as one of the most effective and best organized academic stars in our field.” In nominating him for the medal a colleague described Dr. Houpt as “more than the true ‘triple threat;’ he is a superb teacher and organizer, outstanding researcher and recognized authority in his field. Furthermore, he has masterfully brought together a superb group of collaborators and set up an outstanding new field study site in Tanzania.”

In addition, Dr. Houpt has led tropical infectious diseases teaching and curriculum development both locally and nationally. Dr. Houpt has authored more than 40 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. He has also taken undergraduate students with colleagues in the UVA Commerce Department to launch exciting new global health electives beyond the School of Medicine.

The award was named for Bailey K. Ashford who served in the Army Medical Corps in the early part of the 20th century. He was sent to Puerto Rico, in command of medical department troops. He recognized that hookworms caused the anemia prevalent among the rural populations and in 1904 he founded the Puerto Rico Anemia Commission to combat the disease. For more information on the medal, visit .

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