On Nov. 9, Johnson & Johnson announced that it has provided a $5MM endowment to Research!America to create an annual award to recognize individuals and organizations working to make a profound difference in public health. This new category of awards will be presented annually as part of the Research!America Advocacy Awards Program, now in its 26th year. Johnson & Johnson is a founding member of the Research!America alliance, which launched in 1989. This year’s winners include leaders who are addressing some of the biggest health challenges of our time, from smoking cessation to diversity in clinical trials to fueling collaboration to advance solutions for COVID-19.
“As part of the global public health community, Johnson & Johnson is delighted to collaborate with Research!America to honor the public health heroes whose energy and commitment have made a profound difference in advancing the health of entire populations,” said William Hait, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Johnson & Johnson External Innovation. “Their work impacts all of us, and we are proud to celebrate their valuable contributions through endowing this Award.”
While medicine is often focused on disease treatment, public health focuses on the prevention of disease and injuries and promoting safety and wellness through research, education and policymaking.
“We are deeply appreciative of Johnson & Johnson’s generous endowment focused on raising the profile of public health and its numerous heroes as they fight day in and day out to advance the public good,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “For more than 30 years, Johnson & Johnson has been a highly valued strategic partner, contributing expertise, vision, and unwavering resolve to our goal of improving and saving lives through medical and public health research.”
Johnson & Johnson has invited the honorees to share their stories as part of EUREKA MOMENTS, a series that chronicles the journeys of the people behind the breakthroughs that are improving the lives of millions around the world. The series will air on the company’s YouTube channel on Tuesdays at noon EST.
“The individuals and organizations honored with the inaugural Research!America Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Awards exemplify the vision, passion, and commitment that it takes to make a profound impact on the health and well-being of communities around the world,” said Seema Kumar, Global Head, Office of Innovation, Global Health and Scientific Engagement, Johnson & Johnson. “We look forward to sharing the remarkable stories of how these public health champions have persevered against all odds and against seemingly impossible problems through the EUREKA MOMENTS series.”
Three honorees will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award, which recognizes individuals for their extraordinary work and enormous contributions to public health.
- Matthew Myers, president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Bill Novelli, founder and chair, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, professor and founder, Business for Impact, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. Myers and Novelli are longtime leaders in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences. Their advocacy efforts have led to drastic decreases in both youth and adult smoking on a global scale since the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was founded in 1996.
- Vivian W. Pinn, MD, inaugural director, NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (retired). Dr. Pinn’s many contributions to public health include her leadership in assuring greater inclusion of women and minorities in clinical trials and promoting the consideration of sex differences in the formulation and execution of research studies.
- Christopher Murray, MD, DPhil, professor and chair of health metrics sciences and director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington School of Medicine is the recipient of the Building the Foundation Award, which recognizes one or more individuals whose basic research discoveries have played a pivotal role in advancing public health. Dr. Murray created the first COVID-19 global forecast that decision makers have used as a roadmap for ending the pandemic, and state-level forecasts that have been essential to on-the-ground response efforts.
Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, dean, Brown University School of Public Health, is the recipient of the Meeting the Moment for Public Health Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that has been a “clear voice,” playing a key role in communicating public health information and developments to members of the public. Dr. Jha’s masterful ability and tireless commitment to conveying key information about COVID-19 to a wide array of audiences has helped keep the public informed and combat mis- and disinformation.
Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) is the recipient of the Rapid Translation Award, which recognizes a public-private partnership that has made a critical contribution to public health progress. ACTIV made crucial contributions to the rapid-pace development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines by designing master protocols, establishing national standards, and identifying best practices and collaboration opportunities to improve every stage of the prevention and treatment R&D pipeline.