Elaine Larson Awarded Medal from National Academy of Medicine

Larson is one of two nurses ever to receive the Walsh McDermott Medal from the National Academy of Medicine

Elaine Larson, PhD, senior associate dean of scholarship and research and the Anna C. Maxwell Professor of Nursing Research at Columbia University School of Nursing, has received the Walsh McDermott Medal from the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Larson is one of only two nurses to receive the honor, which recognizes academy members for distinguished service to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine over an extended period of time.

The National Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that provide objective advice on matters of science, technology, and health. Election to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) is considered to be one of the highest achievements in medicine.

Since her election to NAM in 1986, Larson has participated in approximately 50 projects. She has served on 17 committees, councils, and boards, including the executive committee of the National Academy of Medicine Council, the Board on Health Sciences Policy, and the Report Review Committee, where she coordinated and reviewed numerous reports issued by the academy.

Larson also served as chair or a member of several consensus committees studying topics such as environmental health content in nursing practice, school health programs, Gulf War veterans’ health, and protective equipment for health care workers to prevent viral respiratory infections. 

“I am honored to be this year’s recipient of the Walsh McDermott Medal, which honors both me and the entire nursing community,” says Larson. “It has been deeply gratifying collaborating with the Academies on their reports—truly the heart of the Academies’ work, where we, as scientists, policymakers, and health care providers, can make a difference.”

One of the reports that Larson reviewed in 2002, on gun violence in schools, recommended tightening gun control laws. “Even if [such] changes are long in coming, as a fellow, I know that I am privileged to be among the changemakers,” Larson says.

“We congratulate Elaine on this most prestigious and well-deserved honor and thank her for all of her vital contributions to the profession,” says Lorraine Frazier, PhD, who was recently named dean of Columbia University School of Nursing.