George M. Baer Latin American Investigator Award

The George M. Baer Latin American Investigator Award is given to a researcher from a Latin American country for outstanding work in the field of rabies research.

GEORGE M. BAER, MPH, DVM (1936-2009)


Dr. George Martin Baer, one of the founding members of the Rabies in the Americas Conference, died on June 2, 2009, in Mexico City, Mexico. He was an eminent virologist, veterinarian, and public health scientist, with a strong affection for the developing world. Dr. Baer was born in London, England, but grew up in New Rochelle, New York, where he became an accomplished equestrian, and began a lifelong love of animals. He attended Cornell University, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences in 1954, and a degree in veterinary medicine in 1959. He earned a Master´s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor during 1961. Thereafter, Dr. Baer started his career in public health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention , and was assigned to the New York State Health Department in Albany, where he focused upon brucellosis, psittacosis, and rabies. In 1964, he worked at CDC’s Southwest Rabies Investigations Laboratory in Las Cruces New Mexico on bat rabies. During 1966 to 1969, he was a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization in Mexico. Based upon his efforts, he helped to lay the groundwork for Mexico’s public health programs against rabies, an effort he continued throughout the rest of his professional life. In 1969, he returned to Atlanta, and became head of the CDC Rabies Laboratory. With his team of researchers, he developed a method for the immunization of wildlife, for which he was credited as the “Father of Oral Rabies Vaccination”. His considerable expertise made him one of the foremost international experts in this arena. Of his more than 100 publications, his 1991 book, The Natural History of Rabies, remains a definitive reference in the field. After retirement from CDC, he founded a diagnostic laboratory in Mexico City, and remained a member of the Mexican International Steering Committee for the Rabies in the Americas Conference.

For his multiple contributions, not the least of which focused upon relevant technology transfer to the developing world, the International Steering Committee of the Rabies in the Americas Conference voted unanimously to name the annual prize for the best submitted Abstract from a Central/South American scientist in his honor: the George M. Baer Latin American Investigator Award.

To be eligible to the award the researcher must meet the following criteria:

  • Live or come from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central or South America. Please note that candidates from countries with limited prior participation in RITA are strongly encouraged to apply for this award;
  • Be relatively new to the field of rabies, with less than five years experience;
  • Be designated by his/her group as the person who has contributed most substantively to the study;
  • Not have won this award previously.

The winner of the award is chosen by the International Steering Committee from the submitted abstracts. The following elements are taken in consideration when selecting the winner:

  • The innovative nature of the work described;
  • The clear and logical description of the research;
  • The importance of the work for the country of the researcher and the region;
  • Special consideration will be given to abstracts submitted in English.

The award includes :

  • An opportunity to make a presentation in a special session of the conference;
  • Registration to the conference;
  • All transportation costs to and from the conference;
  • Meals and hotel for the duration of the conference.

The name of the winner will be announced at the beginning of September.

The International Steering Committee invites all individuals who meet the above criteria and who wish to be considered for the Latin American Award to complete the section that can be found in Abstract Submission area.