AIHP Awards 2021 George Urdang Medal to Olivier Lafont

AIHP Historical Director Lucas Richert, PhD, today announced that Olivier Lafont has been selected to receive the 2021 George Urdang Medal, AIHP’s most prestigious award.

AIHP awards the George Urdang Medal biennially to recognize the lifetime achievements of a person who, over a sustained period, has made important scholarly contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. The award honors Professor George Urdang (1882–1960), a pioneering historian of pharmacy in Germany and the United States, and AIHP’s founding Director.

Olivier Lafont, a pharmacist, was a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Rouen (France) until 2019. He has published eight books, more than 90 historical articles, and about 100 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals, all in the area of the history of science and pharmacy. He is perhaps best known for his publications on medicinal botanicals in the 17th and 18th centuries, the history of apothecaries, and research on majolica pharmacy jars. His book, Dictionary of the History of Pharmacy – from the Origins to the Late Nineteenth Century (2003) has become a standard reference in France.

Professor Lafont has also been active in pharmacy history organizations, both in France as President of the Society for the History of Pharmacy (2004-2021), and globally as the President of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy (2006-2011) as well as Vice President of the International Academy of the History of Pharmacy (2001-2009). He was awarded the Schelenz-Plakette in 2011.

The letter informing Professor Lafont of his selection for the award observed that “your long and productive career highlights and mirrors the humanistic aspirations for pharmacy history put forward 80 years ago by George Urdang, making you a most worthy recipient of the George Urdang Medal.”

Professor Lafont was selected to receive the George Urdang Medal by an international panel of historians of pharmacy, including Mary Schaeffer Conroy, Maria del Carmen Francés Causapé, Stuart Anderson, John Parascandola, and Dr. Richert.

AIHP plans for formally present the George Urdang Medal to Professor Lafont at the 45th International Congress for the History of Pharmacy, scheduled to be held in Milan, Italy, in September 2022.

2021 Urdang Medal Lafont
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