2017 Lasker Award: Public ServiceOctober 19, 2018
Organizations are also eligible for awards through the Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award that alternates years with the Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science.
Dr. Alfred Sommer; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthThis year’s recipient of the Public Service Award is Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), “for providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century.” PPFA began in Brooklyn, New York, where in 1916 Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the US; in 1942 the organization changed its name from The American Birth Control League to Planned Parenthood.
To place the 2017 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award in context, PLOS interviewed Chair of the Jury Alfred Sommer , University Distinguished Service Professor and Dean Emeritus, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Since recent previous awardees in this category were individuals, PLOS asked Sommer what does this say about how science and medicine work today, or about the efforts needed to impact human health.
The origin story of Planned Parenthood is fascinating.
“The purpose of all Lasker Awards is to better inform the public about the individual, work, and organization that is being honored,” says Sommer.
In recognizing PPFA, he continues, “we would hope that the public will have a better understanding of all the contributions to health made by PPFA.”
Work from individual scientists receiving this year’s Lasker Awards is described in a previous post .
He is most widely known for and received the 1997 Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for his work on Vitamin A therapy for preventing infections and blindness.
Sommer served as Chair of the Jury for the 2017 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award.
When Mike Bloomberg endowed this award in 2011, our goal was to help recognize those who are making the biggest difference in the greatest number of lives, which is also our foundation’s mission.In the past, winners like Doctors Without Borders and Bill and Melinda Gates exemplified our goal. This year’s Lasker-Bloomberg Award recipient – Planned Parenthood – is a perfect example of our mission.Planned Parenthood …