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“Our goal must be a world in which good health is a pillar of individual well-being, national progress, and international stability and peace. This cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the business community, and civil society.”

— Kofi A. Annan, ex-Secretary-General of the United Nations

Rewarding Excellence, Encouraging Leadership... » The Abraham Horwitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health 

Former Director of the Pan American Health Organization and President of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation, Dr. Abraham Horwitz, presented the Award for Inter-American Health to Dr. Martin Cummings for his significant contributions to medical informatics and librarianship. Dr. Cummings served as the Director of the National Library of Medicine from 1964 to 1984, and guided the library into the age of technology while broadening its mission.

Left to right:
Dr. Abraham Horwitz and Dr. Cummings, recipient of the 1983 Abraham Horwitz Award for Inter-American Health

Dr. Cummings received his doctorate in medicine from Duke University in 1944. Two years later, he completed an internship with the US Public Health Service and a residency at the Boston Marine Hospital. Dr. Cummings then became a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. Upon completion of additional training, he became the Director of the Tuberculosis Evaluation Laboratory at the Communicable Disease Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Cummings later joined the US Veterans Administration's Department of Medicine and Surgery serving as Chief of the Tuberculosis Section and Director of the Tuberculosis Research Laboratory in Georgia. In 1953, he moved to the Washington DC area to become Director of Research Services at the Veterans Administration's. During his time at the Veteran Administration, Dr. Cummings taught at several medical universities, including Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia; the George Washington School of Medicine; and at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. In 1961, he accepted the position of Chief of the Office of International Research at the National Institutes of Health serving until 1963.

Throughout 1963, he served as the Associate Director for Research Grants before becoming the Director of the National Library of Medicine in 1964. As Director of the National Library of Medicine, Dr. Cummings saw how technology could improve the library's services. He oversaw the improvement of MEDLARS and developed new programs such as the Extramural Programs, Regional Library Network, Specialized Information Services, and the Toxicology Program. Dr. Cummings retired as Director in 1983. He returned to teaching as Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine from 1986 to 1990.

Modified biography from the National Library of Medicine.