Congratulations to Elise M. Martin, MD, MS, and John V. Williams, MD, recipients of the 2022 Special Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award as part of the COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO). Under the leadership of John and Elise, the CMRO performed extraordinary service to the University of Pittsburgh community. In a letter to Elise and John, Chancellor Gallagher stated, “The CMRO has equipped our university with the tools to safely navigate a pandemic while maintaining – and advancing – our academic mission.

Elise demonstrates an exemplary record of accomplishment in the University of Pittsburgh academic community. In her role in the University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Medical Response Office, she has advocated for the safety of our community based upon astute interpretation of the expansive COVID-19 science. Her clinical experience and extensive knowledge in infection control and antimicrobial stewardship greatly enhance the missions of the Infectious Diseases (ID) Division, the Department of Medicine, and the University of Pittsburgh. Elise is a highly valued member of the ID Faculty who exudes enthusiasm, energy, and collegiality, and serves as an outstanding role model for students, residents, and ID Fellows.

John is an international authority on the epidemiology, immunity, and pathogenesis of respiratory viruses including coronaviruses, influenza virus, HMPV, para-influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinoviruses. His contribution to our community has a reach beyond his research experience and role as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Pediatrics. At the helm of the University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Medical Response Office, he has helped the University of Pittsburgh community safely transverse the COVID-19 pandemic. He serves as a highly respected national expert contributing a steady and informed voice to the lay community’s understanding of COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses.

Elise and John will continue to make important contributions to the academic environment at the University of Pittsburgh and to the field of infectious diseases. Their public service has addressed problems, improved the public’s health, and is of overwhelming benefit to the community.

Please join me in congratulating Elise and John, as well as the CMRO for this well-deserved recognition!