John Allegrante Receives 2017 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award

John Allegrante, Ph.D., L.H.D. (Hon.), a professor of health education at Teachers College and adjunct professor of sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, today was presented with the 2017 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). The CDC Foundation with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation honored Allegrante for his extraordinary and indelible contributions to the fields of behavioral sciences and health education as a researcher, academician, ambassador, mentor and public servant.

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.

Allegrante’s contributions to science fall into three areas: helping people learn about the importance of adhering to self-management of chronic diseases; raising awareness about threats to child and adolescent health; and helping to prepare the public health workforce to promote health and prevent disease, disability and premature death through education-driven voluntary behavior change activities.

"John is a respected academician and scholar who has made substantial contributions to advancing the field of health education," 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. "John exemplifies the best of the health education profession."

As an applied behavioral scientist, Allegrante’s focus is health behavior, disease self-management and health outcomes in chronic diseases. Funded from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and conducted in collaboration with physician scientists at Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical College, Allegrante is developing and evaluating behavioral and educational programs designed to improve coping, communication and behavioral control in patients with chronic diseases.

Allegrante’s work in understanding threats to child and adolescent health has led to population-wide policy and community-based approaches in Iceland and Europe. His research involves an ongoing program with Icelandic behavioral and social scientists to improve the understanding of stress on behavioral outcomes among adolescents, including substance use, suicidal behavior, self-inflicted harm and delinquency.

Throughout the last decade Allegrante has been a leader in developing and strengthening competencies, standards and quality assurance mechanisms for professional preparation in health promotion. He has led efforts to establish a unified system on accreditation for professional preparation programs in the United States and to develop global consensus on domains of core competencies in global health promotion. These efforts are reflected in standards now being implemented in the United States and Europe.

Allegrante serves as editor-in-chief of Health Education & Behavior, the research journal of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) and as a member and co-chair of the federal advisory committee that advises the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Allegrante has been a W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Fellow and Pew Health Policy Fellow at the RAND/UCLA Center for Health Policy Study. He is a Distinguished Fellow of SOPHE. His previous honors include the American Public Health Association (APHA) Mayhew Derryberry Award and its Distinguished Career Award. He is also an elected fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the Society of Behavioral Medicine, as well as a globally elected member of the executive board of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education and a member of the board of directors of One To World.

The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award was named in memory of Elizabeth Fries, who was professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth and co-director of the Cancer Outreach Program. She made many important contributions to program development, implementation and evaluation. The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award recipients receive a $25,000 prize. The award and lecture have been presented annually at the SOPHE conference, which draws some 900 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 CDC Foundation is honored to partner with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which established and funds the awards. As of 2016, the CDC Foundation manages and administers the Fries Foundation’s public health award programs, which include the Fries Prize for Improving Health and the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award.