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Immunization Action Coalition
William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH

William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH

Associate Director for Immunization Education

In July 2012, William L. Atkinson, MD, MPH, retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after 25 years of service. At the time of his retirement, he was medical epidemiologist and training team lead, Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), a position he held for 17 years. In that role, he pioneered the use of satellite and broadcast technology to bring immunization education to thousands of immunization providers simultaneously. During his tenure at CDC, he produced, wrote, and/or appeared in more than 100 broadcasts and webcasts that were viewed by more than 300,000 healthcare providers. He also gave more than 600 invited lectures and taught more than 100 two-day training courses across the United States, addressing more than 150,000 attendees.
Dr. Atkinson's skill as a communicator is not limited to his speaking prowess. He excels as a writer, as well. In 1995, he conceived, developed, and took the lead in writing one of CDC's most widely sought-after books, Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (aka the Pink Book). The book is now in its twelfth edition, and more than 400,000 copies have been distributed. He is the author or coauthor of 52 publications and book chapters primarily relating to measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases. He contributed to several editions of the American Academy of Pediatrics Red Book and to Vaccines, the highly regarded textbook edited by Stanley A. Plotkin, MD, Walter A. Orenstein, MD, and Paul A. Offit, MD.Since 1989, he has been a member of multiple work groups for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and is currently a member of work groups responsible for developing CDC's harmonized child and adolescent immunization schedule, general immunization recommendations, meningococcal recommendations, and pertussis recommendations.
Dr. Atkinson was the first recipient of CDC's highest immunization honor, the Phil Horne Award. He was also the 2001 recipient of the Bill Watson Medal of Excellence, the highest award given to a CDC employee, and the 2003 Excellence in Distance Training Award of the United States Distance Learning Association. In February 2013, Dr. Atkinson was awarded the US Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal, the highest decoration of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
This page was reviewed on March 25, 2013
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This website is supported in part by a cooperative agreement from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (Grant No. 5U38IP000290) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. The website content is the sole responsibility of IAC and does not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.