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Committee invites nominations for next Francis medal recipient

The Thomas Francis Jr. Medal in Global Public Health selection advisory committee has been formed and charged by President Mary Sue Coleman to begin the nomination and selection process for the prestigious honor, which is given every 3-5 years.

The medal recognizes individuals who significantly have advanced global public health. The recipient is invited to deliver an address on an important world health issue, and receives a grant to advance global public health.

Dr. Thomas Francis Jr., director of the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center and the founding chair of epidemiology in the School of Public Health (SPH), designed and led an unprecedented $17.5 million, yearlong field trial involving 1.8 million children from three countries to test the Salk polio vaccine. Dr. Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh developed the vaccine; Salk studied under Francis as a U-M graduate student.

Francis also was the first to isolate the influenza virus and developed the first killed-virus flu vaccine, which still is used today. Francis mentored John Maassab, a U-M epidemiology professor who developed the technology behind the nasal spray flu vaccine.

The University invites nominations from individuals around the world who are knowledgeable about global public health. The Selection Advisory Committee recommends the recipient to Coleman.

Members of the Selection Advisory Committee are from U-M, unless otherwise noted. They are:
• Kenneth Warner, chair. Warner is dean of SPH and the Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health
• Huda Akil, Gardner C. Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neurosciences, professor of psychiatry, co-director and research professor, Molecular and Behavioral
Neurosciences Institute, Medical School
• Dr. Robert Bartlett, professor emeritus of surgery, Medical School
• Dr. Sandro Galea, director, Center for Global Health, and professor of
epidemiology, SPH, research professor, Institute for Social Research
• Dr. Margaret Hostetter, Jean McLean Wallace Professor and Chair, pediatrics chief, immunology, physician-in-chief, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital
• Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs
• Dr. Howard Markel, George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine; professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases; director, Center for the History of Medicine
• Janet Olszewski, director, Michigan Department of Community Health
• Barbara Rimer, dean, Gillings School of Global Public Health; Alumni Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Teresa Sullivan, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and
professor of sociology, LSA.

The university first presented the award April 12, 2005, to William Foege in the Rackham Auditorium, during the 50th anniversary of Francis' historic announcement that the new Salk polio vaccine was, "safe, effective and potent."

The medal honors individuals who have contributed to significant advancements of global public health and helped to establish a healthier future society. For more information about the award and the nomination process, go to

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