Dr. Elaine Larson, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and associate dean for research at Columbia University’s School of Nursing, was selected by the New York Academy of Medicine as the 2014 recipient of the John Stearns Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Clinical Practice. Dr. Larson, a pioneer in promoting hand hygiene for infection prevention and control, is the first nurse to receive the honor.
Dr. Larson is a fellow in the Institute of Medicine and has advised the World Health Organization on best practices for hand washing. She has been editor of the American Journal of Infection Control since 1995 and has published more than 250 journal articles, four books and a number of book chapters in the areas of infection prevention, epidemiology and clinical research. She served on the President’s Committee for Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and was a chair of the CDC’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. Larson has also served as a consultant in infection control internationally, contributing to prevention and education efforts countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Ghana, Peru, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, France, and Egypt. She holds a joint appointment at the Mailman School of Public Health, where she is a professor of epidemiology.