Health :: Highest Honor awarded to infectious disease experts from Harvard School of Public Health

Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has awarded its highest honor, for the promotion of high public health standards among vulnerable populations, to William H. Foege, former Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and a founder of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, and Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The two recipients have dedicated their lives to protecting people in this country and throughout the world from infectious diseases.

The 2006 Richmond Award recognizes those who carry forth the vision of former U.S. Surgeon General and Harvard emeritus professor Julius B. Richmond, who provided innovative leadership to protect vulnerable populations, children, and all Americans. He issued the momentous Report on Tobacco that changed U.S. policies, set targets for the health of the American public with Healthy People 2000 and was the first national director of the Head Start Program.

The award recipients and Dr. Julius B. Richmond, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, will address the public health community at a lecture and award ceremony on Monday, October 30, 4:30-6 p.m., at Harvard School of Public Health.

Said Dean Barry R. Bloom: “The two Richmond honorees, Anthony Fauci and William Foege, exemplify the highest level of integrity and public service. They have mobilized the best scientific expertise and political will to confront some of humanity’s most terrible diseases afflicting children and the most vulnerable populations. Each has exhibited extraordinary vision and courage that has saved millions of lives, and each has demonstrated the power of leadership and dedication to make a difference in the world.”

William H. Foege, M.D., M.P.H. Leading a range of federal and international organizations across his career, Dr. Foege has achieved a major impact on global health. His best known work with the CDC led to the strategy that eradicated smallpox worldwide in the late 1970s. While faced with a shortage of vaccine and outbreaks of smallpox in Nigeria, he created the concept of targeted containment vaccination – the idea of identifying the circle of individuals who have been in contact with someone with the disease and immunizing them immediately – that proved instrumental to break the cycle of transmission of the disease, ultimately everywhere in the world.

After leaving the CDC, he and several colleagues in 1984 formed the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, with the goal of universal basic immunization for all children. During his six years as Executive Director of this organization – a collaboration of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and the Rockefeller Foundation – the proportion of children who received basic vaccinations quadrupled, from 20 percent to almost 80 percent.

In 1986, Foege also became Executive Director of the Carter Center which, among other projects, has sought to eliminate river blindness, a parasitic disease and major cause of vision loss in Africa and guinea worm, a disfiguring disease that the world had ignored. In 1999, he became a senior advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. In this role, he has helped to guide the Foundation in identifying and tackling major health problems in developing nations.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. As a researcher and government agency director, Dr. Fauci has been at the forefront of US efforts to conquer HIV/AIDS and other infectious disease in this country and around the world for more than 20 years. Under his leadership since 1984, NIAID has grown from the sixth-largest to the second-largest institute within the National Institutes of Health.

His research on the role that the body’s own activated immune system plays in HIV and research demonstrating that HIV is never latent in the body or fully cleared by drugs helped to change the course of HIV/AIDS research and treatment. He has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body’s defenses, making the body susceptible to deadly infections. He has also been instrumental in developing strategies for treating and rebuilding the immune systems of patients with AIDS, as well as for devising strategies to create vaccines to prevent HIV infection.

By virtue of his courageous leadership, extraordinary integrity and courage, as well as his own research and collaborations with AIDS activists early in the AIDS crisis, he has tirelessly educated Congress and the public about HIV/AIDS. Dr. Fauci has been singularly instrumental in the mobilizing of support for better scientific understanding of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases and for action in fighting HIV/AIDS in this country and around the globe.

Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 300 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 900-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights.

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