Dr. Michael Jacobson Receives CDC Foundation Hero Award

ATLANTA – Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., received the 2010 CDC Foundation Hero Award at an event at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Foundation is honoring Jacobson for his instrumental role in improving public health by championing science-based nutrition and food safety initiatives, empowering consumers to make healthful choices and encouraging scientists to engage in public interest activities.

Jacobson is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health advocacy organization focused on nutrition and food safety. CSPI is a key player in the ongoing battle to prevent diet-related chronic diseases and food-borne illnesses in America. CSPI both educates consumers and encourages government and corporations to take steps to protect the public’s health.

Since 1971 Jacobson and CSPI have used education, legislation and litigation to win important reforms, including laws requiring nutrition information on most food labels and warning notices on alcoholic beverage labels. CSPI's studies on the nutritional quality of restaurant meals generated worldwide interest and spurred major chains to add more healthful items to their menus. Jacobson and CSPI continue to address junk-food marketing aimed at kids, the nutritional quality of school meals, microbial contamination of foods, and the safety of food additives.

"As our nation’s health care costs continue to rise due in significant part to the growth of preventable, diet-related problems in our population, Dr. Jacobson’s seminal work will continue to play a critical role in our nation’s public health for many years to come," says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who nominated Jacobson to receive the CDC Foundation Hero Award.

Jacobson holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the author or co-author of numerous publications, including: Six Arguments for a Greener Diet (2006, CSPI); Restaurant Confidential (2002, Workman Publishing); Marketing Madness (1995, Westview PressWhat Are We Feeding Our Kids? (1994, Workman); The Fast-Food Guide (1986, 1991 Workman); The Complete Eater’s Digest and Nutrition Scoreboard(1986; Doubleday & Co.); Salt: The Brand Name Guide to Sodium(1983, Workman); Eater’s Digest: The Consumer’s Factbook of Food Additives (1972, 1976, Doubleday & Co.). He is the recipient of the Food and Drug Administration’s Commissioner’s Special Citation and Harvey W. Wiley Medal and the Food Marketing Institute’s Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award.

"Obesity is an epidemic in this country," says Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "CDC and other public health scientists conduct research to identify the causes of obesity and to determine the best strategies to fight obesity at the community and national levels. Dr. Jacobson and CSPI have mobilized thousands of individuals, organizations and policymakers to help put that science into action."

First presented in 2005, the CDC Foundation Hero Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to improving the public’s health through exemplary work in advancing CDC’s mission of promoting health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury and disability. Previous recipients include:

  • William Foege, M.D., M.P.H., senior fellow of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former CDC director
  • Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., founding director of Partners In Health
  • Sir Michael Marmot, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., F.F.P.H.M., FMedSci, director of the University College London International Institute for Society and Health and MRC Research Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president for community benefit for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
  • The Honorable Rudy Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City.

Established by Congress, the CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do more, faster by forging effective partnerships between CDC and individuals, corporations and foundations to fight threats to health and safety. The CDC Foundation manages approximately 200 public health programs in the U.S. and in countries around the world. To learn more, please visit www.cdcfoundation.org.