Announcing the ASTDA Distinguished Career Award
After extensive discussion and deep reflection, the ASTDA Executive Committee has voted to retire the Thomas Parran award, and to implement a new award honoring the highest achievements in our field. The ASTDA Distinguished Career Award will be given annually to recognize long and distinguished contributions in the field of STD research and prevention.
This decision was the result of deliberations carried out over the past several months addressing the Guatemala STD human inoculation studies of 1946-1948, and Dr. Parran’s involvement in authorizing funding for these studies. There is no doubt Dr. Parran is one of the great figures in the history of American venereology, having worked tirelessly to destigmatize STDs and promote modern methods of prevention and control. Yet his association with the Guatemala studies was troubling for a majority of ASTDA members, and many were concerned that continuing to offer the Parran award may give the appearance of tacit approval of unethical research. By retiring the Parran award, ASTDA is actively distancing itself from the Guatemala studies, and looking forward to a new era of STD research and prevention infused with hope, optimism, and justice.
I want to thank the members of the Executive Committee, and the ASTDA membership at large, for helping us work through this difficult and complex issue. Many ASTDA members (as well as non-members) contributed to the robust debate, and the commentaries are now listed in chronological order on our website (www.astda.org
) under the News/Events tab. While many commentators felt it important to continue to recognize Dr. Parran for his innumerable worthy contributions to the field, the majority of our membership felt the time is right to move ahead with a different award, without a name tied to any single individual, to acknowledge the highest career contributions to our field. The Executive Committee weighed all of these opinions carefully in a deliberate, thoughtful, and respectful manner.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the process by which we have arrived at this decision. Thank you for your engagement with this important issue, and for your membership in ASTDA.
Bradley Stoner, MD PhD
President, American STD Association