Dr. Henry Masur, M.D., ’72, chief of critical care medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has been awarded the Weill Cornell Medicine Alumni Association Award of Distinction.
The award, established in 1949, is presented each year to a Weill Cornell Medical College alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in research, education or patient care, and has brought acclaim to the institution.
“At Weill Cornell Medicine, you’re surrounded by really high achieving colleagues who have a lot of different talents and ability. To get this award in that kind of company is very gratifying,” said Dr. Masur, a leading researcher in HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
After graduating from Dartmouth College, Dr. Masur earned his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College and completed his residency in internal medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He returned to Weill Cornell Medicine for a fellowship in infectious diseases, in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Jones, now professor emeritus of medicine, ultimately rising to the position of assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.
In 1981, while at Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Masur treated one of the first AIDS patients, for pneumocystis pneumonia, and co-authored one of three peer-reviewed articles in the New England Journal of Medicine to first describe the then unknown syndrome.
“Weill Cornell had the patient population, labs, expert collaborators and an academic infrastructure to investigate and begin to understand what this new outbreak was about,” he said.
Following the discovery, Dr. Anthony Fauci, M.D. ’66, recruited him to the NIH in 1982 to launch an HIV/AIDS research program and help establish a new department of critical care medicine. Dr. Masur did much of the early work to define how opportunistic infections related to AIDS are managed. He succeeded Joseph Parrillo, M.D. ’72, as chief of the Critical Care Medicine Department at the NIH Clinical Center in 1989, a position he currently still holds.
He is the founder and current co-editor of the NIH-CDC-Infectious Disease Society of America Guidelines on Management of HIV-Related Opportunistic Infections, as well as a past president of the Infectious Disease Society of America. His NIH group led initial U.S. trials of direct-acting antivirals treatment for Hepatitis C, which significantly improved treatment of the disease, and is currently working on innovative strategies to reduce the impact of substance use disorder on HIV infection prevention and management.
Dr. Masur was recently appointed by Dr. Fauci, with Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Rochelle Belfer Professor in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, to co-chair the NIH guidelines for managing COVID-19.
In 2020, he was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Award for Service to America by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Masur will receive the alumni award May 28 at Weill Cornell Medicine’s virtual commencement ceremony.