U-M seeks nominations for prestigious global public health medal, names selection committee

March 21, 2022
Written By:
Nardy Baeza Bickel

The University of Michigan has named a selection committee and is seeking nominations for the Thomas Francis Jr. Medal in Global Public Health, one of the highest recognitions granted by the university.

Mary Sue Coleman

Mary Sue Coleman

The medal, named after the renowned U-M physician, virologist and infectious disease researcher, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of global public health through major scientific discovery or through the development and leadership of effective public health policy or action.

“I am so proud of the university’s continued commitment to honor exemplary work that improves the health of people in our country and around the world,” said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman.

As chair of the Department of Epidemiology at U-M’s School of Public Health, Francis led two-year international field trials of the poliomyelitis vaccine, involving more than 1.8 million children. The trials were unprecedented in magnitude. His work also included the successful development, field trial and evaluation of protective influenza vaccines and developing the first killed-virus flu vaccine.

School of Public Health Dean F. DuBois Bowman

School of Public Health Dean F. DuBois Bowman

“Now, at this moment when global public health is more critical than ever, we are looking forward to recognizing someone who has made a significant impact on the health of populations across the world,” said U-M School of Public Health Dean DuBois Bowman, chair of the 2022 selection committee. “My hope is that the innovators recognized by this award serve as an inspiration for the next generation of global public health leaders.”

The medal was presented for the first time in 2005, on the 50th anniversary of Francis’ historic announcement of the success of the polio vaccine trials. The awardee, William Foege, pioneered a successful strategy to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. The former director of the Carter Center, Foege currently serves as senior adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2010, the medal was awarded to Alfred Sommer, whose research into vitamin A deficiency has saved millions of children from blindness and death. In 2016, U-M awarded the medal to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of BRAC—a Bangladesh-based development organization that works to alleviate poverty by empowering the poor.

Nominations will be accepted until the end of April. Selection committee:

  • F. DuBois Bowman, committee chair; dean, U-M School of Public Health
  • Ravi Anupindi, Colonel William G. and Ann C. Svetlich Professor of Operations Research and Management, U-M Ross School of Business
  • Matthew L. Boulton, Pearl L. Kendrick Collegiate Professor of Global Public Health, senior associate dean for global public health, U-M School of Public Health and Medical School
  • Larry Brilliant, chairman of the board, Ending Pandemics; board member, Skoll Foundation, Salesforce.org, The Seva Foundation and Dharma Platform Scholar
  • Amy Dittmar, U-M senior vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs; professor of finance, Ross School of Business
  • Helene Gayle, director of Chicago Community Trust; former director, CARE-Africa; former director, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
  • Sanjay Gupta, associate chief of neurosurgery, Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta; associate professor of neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine; chief medical correspondent, CNN
  • Dyan Jenkins-Ali, senior lead, COVID-19 Campus Health Response Committee; senior project manager, University Human Resources Strategy and Planning
  • Joneigh Khaldun, vice president and chief health equity officer, CVS Health; former chief medical executive, State of Michigan
  • Joseph Kolars, Josiah Macy Jr. Professor of Health Professions Education; director, Center for Global Health Equity, U-M Medical School
  • Bhramar Mukherjee, John D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics and chair, Department of Biostatistics, U-M School of Public Health
  • Siddhi Patil, graduate student, U-M School of Public Health; research assistant, Michigan Medicine
  • Marschall Runge, U-M executive vice president for medical affairs; dean, U-M Medical School; CEO, Michigan Medicine