Section Activities and Benefits

2013 Section Awards


The John Snow Award

The John Snow Award is given this year to Alfred Sommer, MD MHS. Dr. Sommer is Dean Emeritus and professor of Epidemiology and International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was the founding Director (1980-1990) of the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins, which focuses on clinical epidemiology and public health aspects of blindness prevention and child survival.

In a career marked by lasting contributions to ophthalmology, epidemiology, micronutrient research, disaster relief and other areas, Dr. Sommer is best known for his research into vitamin A deficiency. He proved that a vitamin A deficiency dramatically increased childhood morbidity and mortality from infectious disease, and that a 4-cent dose of vitamin A not only prevented and cured eye disease, but also reduced childhood deaths by 34 percent. Because of his work, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and their partners now annually provide more than 400 million vitamin A supplements to children around the world, saving literally hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

Dr. Sommer is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis. He chairs the Board of the Directors of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and chairs the Vision Science Award Jury of the Champalimaud Foundation. He has received many accolades for his service to public health, and the Epidemiology Section is proud to add its recognition with the John Snow Award.


The Abraham Lilienfeld Award

The Lilienfeld Award is given this year to Michel Ibrahim, MD PhD. Dr Ibrahim is Dean Emeritus of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and is now a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Through a long career as a teacher and mentor, Dr. Ibrahim has given the field of epidemiology many prominent leaders and researchers. Their accomplishments add luster to Dr Ibrahim’s own work and assure his place among the builders of our profession.

The Epidemiology Section is proud to honor Dr Ibrahim’s legacy of teaching and service with the Abraham Lilienfeld Award.


The Wade Hampton Frost Lecture

This year’s Frost Lecturer is Nancy Krieger, PhD. Dr. Krieger’s work focuses on social inequalities in health. She is a social epidemiologist, with a background in biochemistry, philosophy of science, history of public health, and involvement as an activist in issues involving social justice, science, and health. Her work involves etiologic studies of health inequities, methods for improving monitoring of social inequalities in health, and development of theoretical frameworks, including ecosocial theory, to guide work on understanding and addressing societal determinants of health.

In April 2011, Dr. Krieger’s book, Epidemiology and the People’s Health: Theory and Context, was published by Oxford University Press. This book presents the argument for why epidemiologic theory matters. Tracing the history and contours of diverse epidemiologic theories of disease distribution from ancient societies on through the development of — and debates within — contemporary epidemiology worldwide, it considers their implications for improving population health and promoting health equity.


Public Health Practice Award

This year’s APHA Epidemiology Section Public Health Practice Award goes to the Epidemic Intelligence Service Program (EIS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For 62 years, the EIS program has been providing training to numerous public health professions in surveillance, epidemiologic analyses, study designs, outbreak investigations, and other activities to promote public health and prevent disease. The EIS is a major training program at the CDC and the EIS Officers have been trained to carry out high quality epidemiology research long after their 2 years in the postgraduate program has ended. The graduates continue to train the next generation of public health practitioners and also continue to conduct epidemiologic research, respond to public health emergencies, and assist the state health departments in investigating outbreaks.

Below is a link to some former EIS officers’ recollections of their experiences in the program.