Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health today announced that it will award the highest prize in public health – the Frank A. Calderone Prize – to Susan P. Baker, the pioneering researcher and advocate whose extraordinary career spanning close to five decades has been instrumental in bringing the prevention of injuries to the forefront of public health and public policy.
Professor Baker, an epidemiologist and licensed pilot, is Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and a founder of the School’s Center for Injury Research and Policy. For more than four decades, she has made the study and reduction of preventable injuries a priority – and a newly defined field of inquiry – in public health research and policy, and has continuously worked to raise the visibility and stress the urgency of injury control. Her research played an integral role in the creation of child passenger protection laws and graduated driver licensing (GDL); as a results of her work, all states now require child safety seats and virtually all states have GDL laws. Her additional areas of focus include, among others, fatalities related to aviation, motorcycles, and heavy trucks; carbon monoxide poisoning; the relationship between alcohol and homicide; the use of drugs in adolescent suicide; drownings; childhood asphyxiation; house fires; falls in the elderly, and fatal occupational injuries.
Professor Baker will accept the Calderone Prize on May 6, 2010 and give a major and original address at the Mailman School. She will be joined by Dr. Thomas Farley, NYC Commissioner of Health and Dean Linda Fried in a panel discussion immediately following on the practical applications of Professor Baker’s path-breaking work.
The Frank A. Calderone Prize in Public Health, the preeminent award in the field, is overseen by the Mailman School of Public Health and presented to an individual who has made a transformational contribution in the field of public health. The Prize recognizes an individual who has accomplished extraordinary distinction in public health and/or who has made a specific contribution which has had long-term national or global implications. This is the first time the Prize has been bestowed upon an injury control researcher.
“Sue Baker is a true pioneer,” said Mailman School Dean Fried. “She not only created a new field of academic inquiry in public health; she ensured that her research would have practical application and underpin a transformation in public policy. The Mailman School is proud to bestow the Calderone Prize on Professor Baker.”
Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner, observed, “Sue Baker has had an extraordinary career, using research to illuminate a field of inquiry and connecting it to policy changes that have improved countless lives. That is exactly what the Calderone Prize celebrates: public health leadership that leads to practical improvements in how we live.”
“I am truly honored by this extraordinary recognition,” said Professor Baker. “When I started in this field many years ago, injury was hardly considered a public health issue, despite being one of the leading causes of death and disability. I feel very fortunate to have had so many opportunities to build a career in injury prevention, to train so many outstanding injury professionals, and to have been able to influence real policy changes to save lives. While we have collectively come so far, there is more work to be done. That is why I hope this Prize will now draw even more attention to the burden of injury, and encourage more young leaders to enter the field.”
The Calderone Prize presentation and panel discussion will take place at 11:00 AM in the Mailman School’s 8th floor auditorium, Allan Rosenfield Building, 722 West 168th Street, NYC.
About Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
The only accredited school of public health in New York City and among the first in the nation, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting millions of people locally and globally. The Mailman School is the recipient of some of the largest government and private grants in Columbia University's history. Its more than 1000 graduate students pursue master's and doctoral degrees, and the School's 300 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as infectious and chronic diseases, health promotion and disease prevention, environmental health, maternal and child health, health over the life course, health policy, and public health preparedness.