Visionary Leaders Honored for Public Health Advancement

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centennial hit a high point on Monday with a celebration of a century of public health advances and a look toward future innovations. At a ceremony in New York, the School joined with Bloomberg Philanthropies to bestow Bloomberg Hopkins 100 Awards on five public health luminaries. Here are the citations that introduced them:


Bono has used his platform as a world-famous artist to bring attention to some of the most difficult health challenges and to spur the international community into action.

His on-the-ground work, fundraising and activism keep the spotlight on the struggle against HIV/AIDS and poverty in Africa. Over the past 10 years, Bono’s RED branding project has generated nearly 350 million dollars for the United Nations Foundation’s Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

With inspired leadership, Bono has promoted sustainable, high-impact solutions for Africa, such as supporting economic development for local communities. His unique ability to enlist powerful allies from government, religious institutions, popular media, and the business world has led to a brighter future for people around the globe.

Dr. Margaret Chan

Dr. Margaret Chan is the driving force behind every major global public health initiative that has been undertaken since 2006, when she was elected Director General of the World Health Organization.

Today, she leads an aggressive campaign to implement the world’s first-ever international health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Dr. Chan’s advocacy has led several countries to adopt new public awareness campaigns and pass laws that are driving down tobacco use. 

She has also brought more attention to preventable disease. She has used the WHO’s Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative to force road traffic deaths and injuries onto the public health agenda of a number of nations.   

Dr. Chan is building a healthier future for people all over the world.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is an acclaimed women’s rights advocate, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and vigorous crusader for improving health care infrastructure in West Africa. 

During the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, President Johnson Sirleaf aggressively pushed the international community to not only respond to the crisis, but also focus on building primary care facilities in West Africa that could dramatically reduce the prospect of disease epidemics.

The first elected female head of state in Africa, she has proven to be an outspoken leader on social and women’s issues. She has shown how inclusion and empowerment can create opportunities for better health – helping to pave the way for continued progress in Liberia, Africa and beyond.

Dr. Peter Piot

Dr. Peter Piot is a groundbreaking pioneer in the research and containment of infectious disease in Africa, and an innovative international public health leader.

In 1976, he and a team at Antwerp’s Institute of Tropical Medicine discovered the Ebola virus while treating a nun who had been in Zaire.  Dr. Piot immediately flew to Africa and led the effort to contain the first-ever recorded Ebola epidemic.  

Shortly thereafter, he shifted to research on HIV/AIDS and ran the first international project on the disease, work that laid the foundation for scientific understanding of the infection in Africa.

Dr. Piot now directs the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where the next generation of public health practitioners benefits from his vast experience. 

President Tabaré Vázquez

A physician by training, President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay is widely viewed as one of the most aggressive public health leaders in South America.

As president, Dr. Vazquez has built support for family planning and reproductive health, implemented laws to cut tobacco use, and highlighted environmental threats that affect health and the climate.

Under his leadership, Uruguay became the first 100 percent smoke-free country in the Americas. Tobacco advertising was banned, and Uruguay implemented the world’s largest graphic warning on cigarette packs. After those policy changes, youth tobacco use in Uruguay fell by an astounding 65 percent over seven years. Adult tobacco use decreased 28 percent in five years.

President Vazquez shows that commitment from the top makes a huge difference in the health of nations.

Comments +

1 comment

Alson N. Saba
September 20, 2016

Congratulations President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for that significant milestone that will permanently be remembered. You were excellent laterally with those Liberians and foreigners that sacrificed their lives providing services and supplies to make it possible for all of our families and friends to survive. Thanks for your reinforcement that brought many foreign donors to the aide of Liberians and our neighboring countries. The actual cause of Ebola in Liberia and those various countries may be unknown for decades or centuries but we pray for those that passed into the next journey of God's creation that their souls will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We look forward for the improvement of services in the areas of healthcare and education, where more of the current budget will be directed for at least 30 specialized Liberian and foreign doctors, 100 registered Nurses and 30 Fulbright instructors to assist with these programs at an annual budget of $50 million dollars for the next ten years while considering inflation. How will this be paid for? This may be the question for many economists and or investment specialists.

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