For his role as the principal architect of two major U.S. governmental programs — one aimed at AIDS and the other at biodefense.
The 2007 Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service honors a scientist and public servant who engineered two major US governmental programs — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the strategy for defending the nation against dangerous biological agents — and who has spoken eloquently on behalf of medical science to the public, Congress, and successive Administrations. Anthony Fauci established himself as a world-class investigator before accepting the directorship of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to that role, in which he oversees an extensive research program aimed at preventing, diagnosing, and treating immune-mediated and infectious diseases, Fauci serves as a key adviser to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS/HIV issues and public health preparedness against natural and man-made biological threats. Fauci rose to prominence in the biomedical community and to AIDS patients through his HIV research in the early 1980s, but today, millions across the United States know him as the man who explains the science behind emerging biological hazards.
Fauci has made noteworthy contributions to basic and clinical research on infectious and immunologically based diseases. During the early 1980s, he recognized — before most investigators — that AIDS posed a major public health problem. He refocused his laboratory’s efforts toward studying this illness before anyone had even identified the microbe that causes it. Twenty-five years later, Fauci is still probing the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS and discerning how to harness the resulting knowledge to design prevention and therapeutic strategies. He has earned a place in the highest tier of the research establishment, and in 1992, he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.
Award presentation by Harvey Fineberg
Anthony Stephen Fauci was reared in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, a tightly-knit, Italian-American community. Tony, his sister Denise (who is here with her husband, Jack [Scorce]), and their parents lived in the apartment above their father’s corner pharmacy. As a child, Tony excelled in his studies at parochial school and was admitted to Regis High School. This highly selective Jesuit secondary school immersed Tony in the humanities and the classics — Greek, Latin, Philosophy, and Ancient History. His teachers at Regis helped form his character, taught him to bridge the intellectual and the practical, developed in him the work ethic that is manifest to this day, and, above all, instilled in him the essential value of service to others. Tony probably entered Regis with the clarity of thought and ease of expression that mark his entire career; yet his habits of critical inquiry and intellectual integrity were surely formed and reinforced in that Ignatian setting. After the rigors of Regis, college and medical school were a comparative breeze.
Acceptance remarks by Anthony S. Fauci
Anthony Fauci (left) with Joseph Goldstein (right)
Thank you for this extraordinary honor. I am truly humbled. I am a scientist and clinician, and yet I have been blessed with the unique opportunity to pursue my passion for public service at the same time that I remain engrossed in hands-on basic and clinical science and science administration. I had been at the NIH for approximately 10 years as a researcher studying host defense mechanisms against infectious diseases when the first cases of what would later become known as AIDS were first recognized in the summer of 1981. The scientific opportunities for discovery related to this new disease were seemingly unlimited, and I pursued these with intensity. Yet, deep down, I felt a constant nagging uneasiness that there was much more that I should be doing on a broader scale not only with HIV/AIDS, but with malaria, tuberculosis, and other great killers that continued to claim so many lives despite our modern-day technologies.
Interview with Anthony Fauci