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    Naval Medical Research Center Malaria Scientist Recognized for Accomplishments to Advance Public Health



    Story by Denise alford 

    Naval Medical Research Center

    SILVER SPRING, Md. – The American Medical Association (AMA) presented the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service to Dr. Martha Sedegah, director of Parasitology and Clinical Immunology for the Malaria Department in a ceremony earlier this month.

    The Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service is named after the founder of the AMA and, recognizes elected and career public servants in national, state and local government who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to improving public health. Dr. Sedegah is one of eight honorees chosen this year to receive the member of the executive branch in career public service for scientific advancement category.

    “Dr. Sedegah has distinguished herself repeatedly, risen to the top of her field, and made significant, groundbreaking public health contributions that have laid the foundation for the designs of the first clinical trial of one of the leading malaria vaccine candidates,” said Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, AMA Board Chair “A mentor, leader, and innovator, Dr. Sedegah is also focused on being of service, she volunteers weekly at a home for the elderly, Dr. Sedegah also founded a non-profit organization aiming to enhance primary and secondary schooling in her native Ghana.”

    Dr. Eileen Villasante, Head of the NMRC’s Malaria Department, nominated Dr. Sedegah for distinguishing herself as a federal civil service scientist for the past 18 years with her groundbreaking contributions in support of the U.S. Navy's malaria vaccine development program.

    “She has risen to the pinnacle of scientific success as a federal civil service scientist, and embodies the ideal of so many Americans to be of service to the most needy. During her illustrious career, Dr. Sedegah has achieved a series of scientific discoveries bringing the world ever closer to an effective vaccine for this dreaded disease. She dreams big, works tirelessly and succeeds step by step, buoyed by never-ending optimism, generosity and compassion” said Villasante.

    Although Dr. Sedegah has been in the federal service for 18 years, she has been working in support of the U.S. Navy's malaria vaccine development program for 36 years. As a Ph.D. student in 1983, Dr. Sedegah began working at NMRC formerly called Naval Medical Research Institute establishing the malaria mouse model for testing malaria vaccines. This vaccine is now used throughout the world.

    Dr. Sedegah also established a collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Legon, Ghana. This long-term relationship led to the establishment of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3’s Ghana detachment in the early 2000s.
    From humble beginnings in Ghana to critical research on malaria. Dr. Sedegah is an inspiration to her colleagues and community.

    About Naval Medical Research Center

    NMRC's eight laboratories are engaged in a broad spectrum of activity from basic science in the laboratory to field studies at sites in austere and remote areas of the world to operational environments. In support of the Navy, Marine Corps, and joint U.S. warfighters, researchers study infectious diseases, biological warfare detection and defense, combat casualty care, environmental health concerns, aerospace and undersea medicine, medical modeling, simulation and operational mission support, and epidemiology and behavioral sciences.

    About American Medical Association

    The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.




    Date Taken: 02.28.2020
    Date Posted: 03.05.2020 11:30
    Story ID: 364544
    Location: SILVER SPRING, MD, US 

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