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 Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The 2006 Richmond Award recognizes those who carry forth the vision of former U.S. Surgeon General and Harvard professor emeritus Julius B. Richmond, who provided innovative leadership to protect vulnerable populations. 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 Richmond, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, addressed the public health community at a lecture and award ceremony on Monday (Oct. 30) at HSPH.
“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,” said HSPH Dean Barry R. Bloom.
A founder of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Foege is best known for his work (with the Centers for Disease Control) that 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. In 1986, Foege 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. In 1999, he became a senior adviser 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.
As a researcher and government agency director, Fauci has been at the forefront of U.S. 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. Fauci has 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 leadership, research, and collaborations with AIDS activists early in the AIDS crisis, Fauci has tirelessly educated Congress and the public about HIV/AIDS.