Dr. Walter Orenstein Named to Board of Vaccine Think Tank

NEW CANAAN, CT—The Board of Trustees of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute announced the election of their newest board member, Walter Orenstein, MD. Recently recruited as Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Orenstein’s posts at Emory will include director of the Program for Vaccine Policy and Development and associate director of the Vaccine Center. Dr. Orenstein is former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Program (NIP).

At the National Immunization Program, Dr. Orenstein is credited with attaining the highest immunization levels ever in U.S. children; eliminating indigenous transmission of measles; introduction of hepatitis B, Hib, rotavirus, varicella, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines; and involving the CDC in the global polio eradication initiative. “Walter Orenstein is recognized nationally and internationally for successful efforts to improve immunization rates and introduce new life-saving vaccines to the public,” said H.R. Shepherd, chairman of the Sabin Vaccine Institute board. “We are proud to welcome him to the board and to an affiliation with the Sabin Vaccine Institute following our association through the years on the shared concern for disease prevention through vaccines.”

Dr. Orenstein has served in leadership roles within the CDC's immunization program since 1982, and since 1993 has been Director of the National Immunization Program. He has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for programs in polio eradication, measles control, and smallpox eradication in India, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to engage in the programs of the Sabin Vaccine Institute as a member of its board and look forward to advancing the Institute’s mission,” said Dr. Orenstein. “The Institute has a unique role to play in advocating for research and education about vaccines and the vital benefit for public health that immunization offers. I have made this an ongoing goal in my life’s work and it will be satisfying to contribute to the Institute as a member of its board.”

Dr. Orenstein has served as an Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, and he currently serves as chairman of the World Health Organization's Technical Consultative Group on the Global Eradication of Poliomyelitis, and as a member of the International Editorial Board for the journal, Vaccine. He has been the CDC liaison member to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) from 1988 to 2004 and is a past member and rapporteur of the PAHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Vaccines and Immunization. He served as an adjunct professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health from 1992 until 2004. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

Dr. Orenstein's many honors and awards include the Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal from the U.S. Public Health Service; the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal; the Excellence in Public Health Award of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Distinguished Service Award from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society; and in 2003, the Excellence in Public Service Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The mission of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute is to save lives by advancing development of new vaccines and increasing global immunization. Founded in 1993, the Institute pursues oral polio vaccine developer Dr. Albert Sabin’s vision of a world protected from disease by vaccines.