Washington, D.C., November 4, 2007
— Stephen Havas, MD, MPH, MS, received the 2007 American Public Health Association (APHA) Award for Excellence for being a national leader in heart disease and stroke prevention and treatment.
Havas, the American Medical Association’s vice president for Science, Quality and Public Health, received the award at the APHA 135th Annual Meeting & Exposition. He has a long history of spearheading efforts to improve the health of all Americans, establishing one of the first smoke-free policies in a health care facility in 1974 while working as a physician in Massachusetts. He had a hand in the 1979 Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and in 1980 wrote “Exercise and Your Heart,” the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s first national guidelines on exercise.
For more than 20 years, Havas represented APHA on the National High Blood Pressure Education and National Cholesterol Education Program Coordinating Committees. He shepherded policies calling for a 50 percent reduction of sodium in the food supply through APHA and the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Coordinating Committee. In 2006, he co-authored a report, endorsed by the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates, that called for a minimum 50 percent reduction of sodium in the U.S. food supply and for the Food and Drug Administration to remove the “generally recognized as safe” status of salt.
Havas has conducted three National Institutes of Health funded research projects on reducing cholesterol levels and on increasing fruit, vegetable and fiber and decreasing fat in the diets of under-served populations. He initiated a national physician education program focusing on reducing lifestyle risk factors for heart disease, cancer and stroke. He also established statewide programs for the prevention of those medical conditions both in Connecticut while serving as chief of the health department’s Bureau of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and as deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Health.
Havas was a tenured professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at the University of Maryland before resigning to join the American Medical Association staff in 2005. He has authored more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is a peer reviewer for 13 scientific journals, including the American Journal of Public Health. He has contributed to numerous books and other publications and has given presentations on a variety of public health topics, from AIDS to high blood pressure control to preventing patient abuse.