CDC Injury Prevention Champion David Sleet Receives 2015 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award

Portland, OR – David Sleet, Ph.D., F.A.A.H.B., today was presented with the 2015 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation honored Sleet for his life-saving contributions that have led to better evidence, more effective translation and greater adoption of injury prevention interventions.

Through his work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of Western Australia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the World Health Organization, Sleet has helped establish injury prevention as an essential component in public health. As associate director for science in CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury in the National Center for Injury Prevention, Sleet has devoted his career to raising the national and international profile of injury as a preventable public health problem.

Sleet’s many contributions to injury prevention include illustrating the importance of lowering the legal blood alcohol content limit to 0.08 percent for drivers in the U.S.; requiring disposable lighters to be child resistant; and using evidence to demonstrate the dangers of airbags to young children riding in the front seat of vehicles.

“Dr. Sleet’s numerous contributions to injury prevention have saved thousands of lives. As a ground-breaking scientist, collaborator and respected practitioner, his efforts have made the world a safer place to live, play, work and learn,” 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.

According to CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading causes of death to Americans ages one to 44. Injuries also result in 2.8 million hospitalizations and 29 million emergency department visits each year in the United States. Sleet has helped to identify what behaviors contribute to injuries, which behavioral interventions can prevent them and what psychological impact injuries have on people and their families.

The recipient of numerous national and international awards, Sleet has been recognized with the APHA Derryberry Award for contributions to theory, HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, MADD President’s Award, APHA Distinguished Career in Injury Prevention, SOPHE Distinguished Fellow Award, CDC’s outstanding career award in behavioral science and The Royal Order of Sahametrei Medal for his service to the King and people of Cambodia.

Sleet, a respected injury prevention expert with hundreds of articles and book chapters to his credit, is the co-editor of Handbook of Injury and Violence Prevention; Injury and Violence Prevention: Behavioral Science Theories; Derryberry’s Educating for Health; and the international prize-winning World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention.

The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award, first presented in 1992, 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 award and lecture has been presented 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 Fries Foundation is providing an endowment to the CDC Foundation designated for management and administration of the public health award programs, which includes The Fries Prize for Improving Health and The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award. The transition to the CDC Foundation will be completed by the end of 2015.