CDC Foundation Fries Awards for Health

To encourage and reward those who tirelessly strive to make the world a healthier place, we are honored to recognize these deserving individuals each year. The James and Sarah Fries Prize for Improving Health recognizes an individual who has made major accomplishments in health improvement, with emphasis on recent contributions to health in the United States, and with the general criteria of the greatest good for the greatest number. 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.

The CDC Foundation is honored to partner with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which established and funds the awards. In January 2016, the CDC Foundation assumed management and administration of the Fries Foundation’s public health award programs, which includes the Fries Prize for Improving Health and the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award.

About the Fries Foundation
The James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in 1991. The mission of the Foundation is to identify and honor individuals, organizations, or institutions which have made great contributions to the health of the public. The Foundation seeks to reward accomplishment rather than promise, practicality rather than theory.

About the Awards
The late Dr. James F. Fries, formerly professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford University, came up with the idea for the Fries Prize for Improving Health in a 1987 ascent of Nepal’s Makalu—one of the world’s highest peaks—when his party became trapped in a severe snowstorm and was ultimately unable to scale the mountain. Following that experience, Dr. Fries returned to sea level and set about establishing a foundation to support a Nobel-like prize for health that now annually awards a $100,000 prize to an individual judged by an expert panel to have done the greatest good for the greatest number in the field of health. In 1992 the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award was established in honor of Elizabeth Fries, daughter of James and Sarah Fries. The $50,000 prize is awarded annually to an individual judged to have made substantial contributions to their area of health education. Sarah Fries remained active in the Fries Prize awards until her death in May 2017, and Jim Fries remained active in the awards until his death in November 2021.

Fries Prize | Elizabeth Fries Award | Nominations | Selection Jury

Gregory Fries and Dr. Judy Monroe present the 2023 Fries Prize to Dr Anne Schuchat during the APHA opening day event in Atlanta, Georgia.

For more information on the Fries Awards, contact the Fries Prize Administrator at