Robert Kaplan Receives 2020 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award

I am delighted to share with you that Robert M. Kaplan, PhD, today received the 2020 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award. Kaplan received this prestigious recognition for his research that has fundamentally changed the conceptualization and measurement of health outcomes.

Kaplan is best known for his work on the development of patient reported outcome measures. In support of this work, Kaplan developed a measurement strategy for estimating health outcomes for Quality Adjusted Life Years calculations and developed methods for cost/utility analyses. The Quality Adjusted Life Years concept and related measures are now part of the vocabulary in medicine and health care.

Kaplan is a faculty member at the Stanford School of Medicine, Clinical Excellence Research Center, and he is a Distinguished Research Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health.

He served as the former associate director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) leading the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research during the Obama administration and a former chief science officer for the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Lawrence Green, DrPH, ScD (Hon), chair of the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, noted that Kaplan’s focus on improving the quality, efficacy and safety of healthcare, has left an enduring mark on public health and health education.

This year’s award was presented virtually to Kaplan at the annual meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, SOPHE made the decision to hold this year’s annual conference virtually.

The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award recognizes a health educator who has made a substantial contribution to advancing the field of health education or health promotion through research, program development or program delivery. Award recipients receive a $25,000 prize.

The CDC Foundation is honored to partner with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which established and funds the Fries Prize for Improving Health and the Elizabeth Fries Health Education awards. The CDC Foundation manages and administers the Fries Foundation’s public health award programs.



Diana Robelotto Scalera is the director of alumni affairs for the CDC Foundation.