News Release

American Pediatric Society Selects Richard J. Whitley, MD as the 2022 Howland Award Recipient

Distinguished pediatrics leader is recognized for his significant contributions to advancing child health and the profession of pediatrics

Grant and Award Announcement

Pediatric Academic Societies

Richard J. Whitley, MD - 2022 John Howland Award Recipient

image: Distinguished pediatrics leader is recognized for his significant contributions to advancing child health and the profession of pediatrics. view more 

Credit: APS

HOUSTON, Nov. 2, 2021 – The American Pediatric Society (APS) is pleased to announce Richard J. Whitley, MD, as the 2022 APS John Howland Award recipient, the highest honor bestowed by the APS. The prestigious award signifies the society’s recognition of Dr. Whitley for his significant contributions to advancing child health and the profession of pediatrics. The award will be presented to Dr. Whitley during the APS Presidential Plenary at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2022 Meeting in Denver, Colorado, April 21-25, 2022.

The APS John Howland Award was created in honor of clinician-scientist John Howland, MD. Since 1952, the annual award has recognized individuals for their distinguished service to pediatrics.

Dr. Whitley is a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Co-Division Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine and Children's of Alabama. He also holds the titles of Loeb Eminent Scholar Chair in Pediatrics; Professor of Microbiology, Medicine, and Neurosurgery; Senior Scientist, Division of Gene Therapy; and Co-Founder and Co-Director, Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance.

Dr. Whitley is a leader in the field of clinical virology and an expert on how antiviral therapies fight infections in children and adults, Dr. Whitley’s research spans four decades. He is best known for his pioneering work in herpes antivirals and the development of guidelines for the emergency use of influenza antiviral therapy in infants. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Whitley is the Project Director on a National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant that studied the efficacy of remdesivir. He also has had a critical role in evaluating the safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

“We are truly delighted to honor Dr. Whitley with the 2022 APS John Howland Award for his sustained and continuing leadership in pediatrics.  His tireless efforts led to the development of treatments for infections when none existed and the creation of a future for countless children who previously had none” said APS President Mary Leonard, MD. “His vision, collegiality, involvement in advocacy, and the depth and breadth of his research have made an enormous impact on the field of pediatrics. Decades of pediatricians, including neonatologists and infectious disease specialists, frequently use treatment recommendations that are based on Dr. Whitley’s work.  His numerous outstanding contributions extend to all arenas of academic pediatrics and will have an enduring impact on how pediatricians treat infections to improve the health of children and their families.”

Despite ample opportunities to take on administrative roles, Dr. Whitley repeatedly has chosen to continue as a clinician scientist by providing clinical bedside care, continuing research, and training the next generation of pediatricians. While Dr. Whitley works on the international stage, he has been helping the children of Alabama and their families for decades. He is known for his connection with patient families, leaving a lasting impact, not only on those families, but on the residents and students who interact with him.

For more information about Dr. Whitley and the APS John Howland Award, please visit the APS website.


About the American Pediatric Society

The American Pediatric Society (APS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1888 as the first pediatric society in North America. The mission of the APS is to engage distinguished pediatric leaders to shape the future of academic pediatrics.  The 1,800 plus members of APS are recognized leaders of extraordinary achievement who work together to shape the future of academic pediatrics. For more information, please visit, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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