Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) Professor Andrew Steer has been awarded the Bailey K. Ashford Medal for his distinguished work in tropical medicine.

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) recognised Professor Steer for his contribution to the understanding and control of tropical diseases.

The announcement was recently made at the ASTMH annual meeting.       

The medal is named after Bailey K. Ashford who after the Spanish American War was sent to Puerto Rico, in command of medical department troops. In 1899, at age 26, he recognised that hookworms caused the anemia outbreak among the rural populations. He later founded the Puerto Rico Anemia Commission to combat the disease.  

Director of Infection and Immunity at MCRI, Professor Steer's research centres on the control of Strep A infection in northern Australia and lower-middle income countries and public health efforts at controlling rheumatic heart disease, impetigo and scabies.

His breadth of work includes mass-drug administration to treat and prevent scabies, establishing the Strep A vaccine alliance to accelerate the discovery and development of a Strep A vaccine and improving diagnosis and treatment in remote communities of rheumatic heart disease using portable ultrasound machines. 

The World Scabies Program will see Professor Steer and his team bring together key global partners to scale-up mass drug administration strategies in highly-affected countries including entire populations of Fiji and the Solomon Islands. 

The program has been made possible after receiving $10 million in funding from the Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award.