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School of Public Health to honor its 'heroes'

Annual recognition event for those who protect the public's health

26 February 2009

On Wednesday, March 18, the School of Public Health (SPH) will honor three individuals and one organization at its 13th annual Public Health Heroes Awards ceremony, to be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Presenters — including Ed Penhoet, a co-founder of Chiron Corp. and a former dean of SPH — will support the school in its annual recognition of innovative leaders who have made meaningful contributions to the protection and promotion of the public’s health. For information about the Public Health Heroes Awards ceremony, visit

Paul Farmer(Mark Rosenberg photo)

International Hero: Paul Farmer

Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer is being honored for his dedication to treating some of the world’s most impoverished populations and raising the standard of healthcare in poor areas of the world. Farmer is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a founding director of the international nonprofit organization Partners in Health. He is an attending physician in infectious diseases and associate chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Farmer and colleagues have pioneered novel, community-based treatment strategies for AIDS and tuberculosis and have successfully challenged the policymakers and critics who claim that quality healthcare is impossible to deliver in resource-poor settings.

John WennbergNational Hero: John Wennberg

John Wennberg is being honored for his leadership in pointing the way for cost-reduction and efficacy improvements in the U.S. healthcare system. Wennberg is the Peggy Y. Thomson Professor in the Evaluative Clinical Sciences and founder and director emeritus of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. He is also a professor of community and family medicine (epidemiology) and professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, and the founding editor of The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which examines the patterns of medical-resource intensity and utilization in the United States. The Atlas project has also reported on patterns of end-of-life care, inequities in the Medicare reimbursement system, and the underuse of preventive care.

Betty MooreRegional Hero: Betty Moore

Betty Moore is being honored for her contributions to improving the quality of nursing care and the nursing workforce in California and for setting an example for the nation at large. She and her husband, Gordon, established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which seeks to develop outcome-based projects to improve the quality of life for future generations. Betty Moore provided the vision and leadership that led the foundation to approve the 10-year Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative, which aims to improve patient safety and outcomes through nurse-led initiatives in acute-care hospitals within five San Francisco Bay Area counties.

WiREDOrganizational Hero: WiRED International

WiRED International is being honored for its achievements in using information technology to provide up-to-date health education and medical information in developing, post-conflict, and isolated regions of the world. WiRED International brings vital information to communities coping with the challenges of war, poverty, and dislocation. Its Medical Information Centers supply isolated doctors and other healthcare professionals with computers, Internet access, medical curricula, and collaboration with well-trained doctors in developed countries. Its Community Health Information Centers connect people at the grassroots level to interactive computer-based information — often the only source of health information available to them.