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NIH physician named Federal Employee of the Year

Sep. 12, 2012 - 06:06PM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments
The Partnership for Public Service has named Dr. Lynne Mofenson its Federal Employee of the Year for her work to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus from infected mothers to their unborn children.
The Partnership for Public Service has named Dr. Lynne Mofenson its Federal Employee of the Year for her work to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus from infected mothers to their unborn children. (Sam Kittner / kittner.com)

The Partnership for Public Service has named Dr. Lynne Mofenson its Federal Employee of the Year for her work to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus from infected mothers to their unborn children.

Mofenson, chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent & Maternal AIDS Branch at the National Institute of Health, is among the winners of the Partnership’s Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medals, known as Sammies. Medal winners will be honored Thursday at a Washington gala.

“This year, like every one of the last 10 [years] prior to this one, we have found people doing truly amazing things on behalf of the American people,” Partnership president and CEO Max Stier said in an interview.

When Mofenson joined NIH as a pediatric infectious disease specialist in 1989, there were more than 2,000 new pediatric AIDS cases in the United States each year. Her collaborative work to develop a prevention strategy has contributed to a sharp decrease in HIV-infected babies born in the U.S. today: fewer than 100 a year, according to the Partnership.

“It’s certainly a tremendous honor, and it is particularly humbling given the remarkable achievements of my fellow federal employees,” Mofenson said in an interview. “Rather than view this award as being an award for my work, I view it as an award for honoring work inside and outside the government that contributed to this research.”

Other winners, and their achievements cited by the Partnership:

• Charles Scoville of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, recipient of the National Security & International Affairs Medal. Scoville designed and developed a rehabilitation program that has benefited nearly 1,500 combat amputees.

• James Cash of the National Transportation Safety Board, recipient of the Career Achievement Medal. Cash’s nearly three decades of work has led to better audio, video and data recording devices used by airlines and others in the transportation industry to pinpoint the cause of accidents.

• Susan Angell of the Veterans Affairs Department and Mark Johnston of the Housing and Urban Development Department, recipients of the Citizen Services Medal. They led an interdepartmental program that reduced veteran homelessness by 12 percent — from about 76,000 in 2010 to 67,000 in 2011.

• Louis Milione of the Drug Enforcement Administration, recipient of Justice and Law Enforcement Medal. Milione worked with fellow agents on an undercover investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of the notorious arms trafficker Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death.”

• Dr. Neal Young of the National Institutes of Health, recipient of the Science and Environment Medal. Young’s research has saved lives and led to treatments for aplastic anemia, a rare condition in which the body doesn’t make enough new blood cells.

• Nael Samha and Thomas Roland Jr. of Customs and Border Protection, recipients of the Homeland Security Medal. They created a smartphone app that provides agents in the field real-time access to law enforcement databases.

• Elliott Branch, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and procurement, recipient of the Management Excellence Medal. Branch’s accomplishments include reducing Navy procurement regulations by 50 percent, and transforming Navy’s acquisition from a paper-based to an electronic system. He also led the creation of a program that gives preference to contractors with a history of controlling costs, meeting schedules and providing quality services.

• Jacob Taylor, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, recipient of the Call to Service Medal. Taylor is leading several scientific discoveries, including ways to improve magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing to provide more detailed results and a breakthrough that could permit greater amounts of information to travel over the Internet.

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