Dr. Mathuram Santosham, a professor in the departments of international health and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, has been awarded the 2014 Fries Prize for Improving Health. The award was presented today at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA, and is based on his research and contribution to fighting the deadly Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease. As a result of this work, every country in the world has made the decision to use the Hib conjugate vaccine. Gavi, an international organization created to improve access to vaccines for children in poor countries, estimates that by the year 2020, approximately seven million lives will have been saved by using the Hib vaccine.
“Dr. Santosham has dedicated himself to assure that all children in the world have access to life-saving Hib vaccines,” says Dr. James F. Fries, professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford University and chairman of the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation, which in partnership with the CDC Foundation awards the annual prize. “Thanks to the work of Dr. Santosham, one of the most lethal diseases of children is near elimination in many countries.”
Dr. Santosham is regarded as an international expert in oral rehydration therapy and childhood vaccines. Throughout his career, he has conducted numerous vaccine efficacy trials, including rotavirus vaccine, Hib conjugate vaccine and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine among American Indian populations. Santosham was principal investigator of the Hib Initiative, which was started with a 437 million granted by Gavi.