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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Columbia Dean Wins Inserm 2016 International Prize

Dean Linda P. Fried, DeLamar Professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, will receive the 2016 Inserm International Prize, a scientific honor presented annually by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research [Inserm], France’s equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The Prize will be presented along with five other Inserm awards at a December 8 ceremony held at Collège de France in Paris.


[Photo: Dean Linda P. Fried]

“Throughout my career, my interest in the science of healthy aging has been guided by a belief that science and society, working in concert, can optimize our innate capacity for good health,” Fried said. “I am grateful to Inserm for this honor and for the light it will shine on this body of scientific breakthroughs. My collaborators and I believe that such science can be the basis for the opportunities of our now-longer lives. Science offers enormous potential to build health for older people around the world and create the foundations to benefit all of us.

Worldwide, the number of people aged 65 or older will almost triple by 2050, climbing from about 524 million in 2010 to nearly 1.5 billion. Fried, who has actively collaborated with global leaders to help realize the potential of large older populations, recently led an international summit on aging and health in Shanghai. The most populous nation on earth will be home to as many as 330 million people over age 60 by 2050. In designing the summit, Fried included representation from global academia, government, and private industry, all of which will be called upon to meet the demands of this demographic transformation. .

John W. Rowe, Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging,

Health Policy and Management at Columbia, suggested Inserm’s selection marks a milestone for those within public health who study aging. “The importance of the Inserm Prize relates to its truly international scope and its focus not on a particular discovery but on a scholar’s systematic body of work in an important area,” he said. “Recognition of Linda Fried’s research has special significance as it shows that research on aging, long neglected, has come of age.”

A highly regarded figure in international public health, Dean Fried has dedicated her career to interventions that equip societies to transition to a world in which greater longevity benefits people of all ages. Her research creating the science of frailty, defining frailty as a clinical syndrome and illuminating its causes, consequences and the potential for preventing it has had great impact. Fried’s scientific discoveries have transformed science as well as medical care and public health globally, and catalyzed greater interest in helping older populations thrive.

Dean Fried was cited by publisher Thompson Reuters in 2014 as among the top one percent of influential scientific minds of the prior decade. She is also the designer and co-founder of Experience Corps, a program that places senior volunteers in public schools in cities in the United States and around the world. Serving in both tutoring and mentoring roles, Experience Corps’ older volunteers help enrich students’ academic achievements while bolstering their own health through continued activity and community interaction. In a randomized, controlled trial, Fried successfully demonstrated Experience Corps’ success preventing physical disability and cognitive decline among older adults, while raising child literacy.

Before coming to Columbia in 2008 Dean Fried founded the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, directed the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, and held joint appointments at Hopkins’ schools of medicine, nursing, and public health.

Prior winners of the International Prize include Chen Zhu, China’s former Minister of Health, Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, and Harvey Alter, whose work led to the discovery of hepatitis-C. Last year, the Prize was awarded to Peter Piot, who is currently Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The 2008 winner, Tomas Lindahl, former Director of Clare Hall Laboratories at Cancer Research in the United Kingdom, went on to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015.