Computer Health Pioneer Victor Strecher Receives 2014 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award

Baltimore – Victor Strecher, Ph.D., M.P.H., today was presented with the 2014 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award at the 65th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation honored Strecher for pioneering the development of computer tailored health programs that have transformed the way people learn about and manage their health.

Strecher, founder of the Center for Health Communications Research and lead investigator on more than $45 million in grant-funded studies, is a professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and the director for the Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

As a teacher and researcher, Strecher is an expert on the science and psychology of healthy personal change for both individuals and large populations. In 1998, he founded HealthMedia, Inc., a health and wellness company that enabled large health plans and employers to support healthy behavior change for their members and employees.  In 2008 HealthMedia Inc. was purchased by Johnson & Johnson.

“Dr. Strecher believes that understanding and meeting a person’s individual health information needs improves health and well-being, and his work has led to better health services for millions of people.” said Dr. James Fries, professor of medicine emeritus, Stanford University and chairman of the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which annually presents the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award.

Strecher and the organizations he founded—the University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research and HealthMedia, Inc.—have won numerous national and international awards including the Secretary of Health and Human Services Award for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, two Smithsonian Awards, four International Health and Medical Media Awards, and the National Business Coalition on Health’s Mercury Award. In 2010, Strecher was the recipient of the University of Michigan’s Distinguished Innovator Award and the School of Public Health’s Award for Translating Research into Practice.

Strecher is currently working with the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health to promote more direct dissemination of research and teaching efforts to improve the public’s health nationally and globally. Dr. Strecher’s latest research and book is related to the importance of developing and maintaining a strong purpose in life. His book, On Purpose: Lessons in Life and Health From the Frog, the Dung Beetle, and Julia, is written for the lay public with a professional comic illustrator as a graphic novel and is accompanied by a free iOS app, a website and smartphone and web apps. Dr. Strecher also has a regular blog on The Huffington Post related to purpose and meaning in life.

First presented in 1992, 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. Health Education Award recipients are awarded $25,000. The award and lecture has been conferred annually at the SOPHE conference, which draws some 600 health education researchers, faculty, practitioners and students for the latest research and practice in health education.  Founded in 1950, SOPHE’s mission is to provide global leadership in health promotion and to promote the health of society (

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. For more information on the Fries Foundation, visit