The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the United States has elected Christian Happi, a Nigeria-based scientist, as a member of the prestigious league.
The election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honours in the fields of health and medicine that recognises individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
Happi is a distinguished professor leading cutting-edge research of infectious diseases at the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Ede, Nigeria.
The Academy in an official statement released on Monday cited his tangible impact on infectious disease research in Africa as his major qualification.
He is also recognised for establishing critical programs and making important scientific contributions to malaria, Lassa fever, Ebola, mpox, yellow fever, and COVID-19 research.
He led the effort to sequence the first full SARS-Cov-2 genome in Africa, which guided public health interventions and is developing an early warning system that could stop the next pandemic before it starts, the Academy said.
Victor Dzau, NAM president, welcoming Happi alongside 99 other members across the world said their contributions to health and medicine are unparalleled, and their leadership and expertise will be essential to helping the academy tackle current urgent health challenges.
He also sees their work informing the future of healthcare and ensuring health equity for the benefit of all around the globe.
“It is my honour to welcome this truly exceptional class of new members to the National Academy of Medicine,” Dzau said.
The newly elected members bring NAM’s total membership to more than 2,400, which includes 198 international members.
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He further explained that new members are elected by current members through a process that recognises individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.
The academy ensures a diversity of talent among members by its Articles of Organization, which stipulate that at least one-quarter of the membership is selected from fields outside the health professions such as law, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities.
Established as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, NAM addresses critical health, science, medicine, and related policy issues and inspires positive actions across sectors.
NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
With their election, NAM members make a commitment to volunteer their service in National Academies activities