WASHINGTON — For his role as a leader of federal research and policy on infectious diseases and, in particular, for his deft, scientifically grounded leadership in shaping an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Academy of Medicine today announced Anthony S. Fauci is the recipient of the 2020 Gustav O. Lienhard Award for Advancement of Health Care. The award will be presented at the National Academy of Medicine’s virtual annual meeting on Oct. 19. Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and has served in that position since 1984.
At NIAID, Fauci oversees an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, as well as emerging and re-emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. During his career at NIAID, he has advised six U.S. presidents on many domestic and global health issues. Fauci has made many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He made important scientific observations that underpin the current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response, which helped pioneer the field of human immunoregulation.
Fauci made seminal discoveries to advance the understanding and treatment for HIV/AIDS and played a critical role in designing the U.S. and international response to the epidemic. He was an instrumental contributor to the creation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has saved millions of lives throughout the world. Fauci led NIAID to initiate major scientific studies and helped change the public’s stigmatizing view of those with HIV to public understanding of the mechanisms of its viral transmission and effective treatments.
This year, Fauci has been a top adviser to the government on public health and medical response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic and led NIAID-sponsored research on ways to prevent, treat, and better understand SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
Fauci began his career at the National Institutes of Health in 1968 as a clinical associate in the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Investigation. He was appointed chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation in 1980 and still holds this position.
“From his pivotal role in the fight against HIV/AIDS to his critical leadership in responding to Zika, SARS, and Ebola outbreaks, to his current tireless efforts shaping the COVID-19 pandemic response, Dr. Fauci is undoubtedly most deserving of this prestigious award,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “His dedication and commitment over his lifetime of public service have earned him recognition as a world-class scientist and resulted in sustained scientific contributions that have advanced global health security and saved millions of lives around the world. Through it all, and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Fauci has remained a leading and trusted voice for science and evidence-based decision-making, and his clear communication and even temperament have been key to advancing understanding of the problem and promoting a massive, multilevel response.”
Fauci is the 35th recipient of the Lienhard Award. Given annually, the award recognizes outstanding national achievement in improving personal health care in the United States. Nominees are eligible for consideration without regard to education or profession, and award recipients are selected by a committee of experts convened by the National Academy of Medicine. This year’s selection committee was chaired by Donald M. Berwick, M.D., president emeritus and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; and former administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Lienhard Award is funded by an endowment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Gustav O. Lienhard was chair of the foundation’s board of trustees from the organization’s establishment in 1971 to his retirement in 1986 — a period in which the foundation moved to the forefront of American philanthropy in health care. Lienhard, who died in 1987, built his career with Johnson & Johnson, beginning as an accountant and retiring 39 years later as its president.
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
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