Three Public Health Organizations Receive 2022 Fries Prize for Improving Health for Protecting the Health of Americans

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Big Cities Health Coalition and National Association of County and City Health Officials Honored for Lifesaving Impact Across the United States

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) today received the 2022 Fries Prize for Improving Health. These organizations and the members they represent were honored for saving and protecting millions of lives during the unprecedented challenges of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which represents the largest threat to health in more than a century.

The Fries Prize for Improving Health award was presented this morning at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) annual meeting, which is taking place in Boston. The award recognizes an individual or organization making major contributions to the improvement of public health with emphasis on recent contributions to health. It is intended for those who have done the most to improve health for the greatest number of people. This is the first time in the more than 30-year history of the award that three organizations simultaneously received this recognition. The only other organization to receive this honor was Doctors Without Borders in 2019. The monetary award for the Fries Prize for Improving Health is $60,000, which will be divided among the three organizations.

“Throughout the last few years, I’ve been privileged to work with members from these three organizations, and I have been amazed by their unwavering dedication and tremendous positive impact to the health of all Americans,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “ASTHO, BCHC and NACCHO represent some of the best that public health has to offer. Their members have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response and working around the clock to address many other simultaneous health threats. I applaud them for all their efforts during the pandemic as well as their continued commitment in helping to keep us all safe every day.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic ASTHO, BCHC and NACCHO provided critical leadership and improved public health through capacity building and technical assistance to health departments across the country. Members from all of these organizations have led the public health response at the state, local and territorial levels including developing and implementing prevention and mitigation measures, partnering with health systems, hospitals, community- and faith-based organizations, and other sectors as well as educating the public with science-based information.

“ASTHO, BCHC and NACCHO and their members have without question demonstrated their unprecedented and critical impact on protecting and saving the lives of millions of Americans and defending public health for the betterment of society,” stated J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, president and CEO, Trust for America’s Health, who helped champion ASTHO’s, BCHC’s and NACCHO’s nomination for the Fries Prize. “I have worked closely with these organizations and witnessed the courageous and steadfast dedication they have to promoting health and well-being of communities throughout the nation and to advancing health equity so that every person has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”

ASTHO, BCHC and NACCHO are the nation’s public health organizations that represent and serve the nation’s state and territorial departments, local health departments and America’s largest metropolitan health departments. The public health officials who are members of these organizations serve to promote and protect the health and well-being of and prevent disease and death of people across the nation.

ASTHO is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the work of state and territorial public health officials and furthering the development and excellence of public health policy nationwide. Its membership is comprised of 59 chief health officials from each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., five U.S. territories, and three Freely Associated States. ASTHO also supports peer communities of state and territorial health leaders and senior executives in health departments who work with the more than 100,000 public health professionals employed at state and territorial public health agencies.

BCHC is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of the 61 million people they serve. Together, these public health officials directly affect the health and well-being of nearly one in five Americans.

NACCHO represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. NACCHO’s mission is to improve the health of communities by strengthening and advocating for local health departments.

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.

The CDC Foundation is honored to partner with the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which established and funds the award. 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.