Johnston recognized for leadership in vaccine debate

By Staff

Richard B. Johnston Jr., associate dean for research development and professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, recently was honored with the David Rall Medal by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

The honor is given to an IOM member who has demonstrated distinguished leadership as chair of a study committee or other such activity, showing commitment above and beyond the usual responsibilities of the position.

Johnston was selected for his leadership role in vaccine safety activities on the Board of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. That work placed him at the center of the vaccine safety controversies that have been particularly heated over the past two decades.

The IOM award selection committee cited Johnston’s efforts to bring a science base to the often emotionally-charged debate and study of the adverse effects of vaccines. The IOM committee noted that Johnston consistently exhibited knowledge of and belief in the IOM process of bringing science to bear on an important and controversial policy problem.