Thomas J. Coates, director of the UCLA Center for World Health and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, was presented with the 2013 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award for his pioneering research on HIV-related volunteer testing and counseling.
He received the award from the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation April 18 at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) in Orlando, Fla.
"I am honored and humbled by this wonderful award from the Fries Foundation," said Coates, who is also the Michael and Sue Steinberg Distinguished Professor of Global AIDS Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "It is even more meaningful given the wonderful family who built this foundation and gave the award for public health."
From the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, Coates recognized that education could be a critical element in preventing transmission of HIV. Before joining UCLA, Coates was the founding executive director of the University of California, San Francisco AIDS Research Institute, leading it from 1996 to 2003. His areas of emphasis and expertise are HIV prevention, the relationship of prevention and treatment for HIV and HIV policies. He has just completed directing a randomized clinical trial in 48 communities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Thailand to determine the impact of HIV de-stigmatization strategies on HIV incidence rates community-wide. He is also conducting research in Uganda, Peru and China.
"Prof. Coates' contributions in the field of health education have improved HIV-related health care, reduced risk factors and saved lives in vulnerable populations worldwide," said James Fries, professor of medicine at Stanford University. "Significant progress has been made to contain AIDS over the past 30 years, and Dr. Coates' work in education has proved to be extremely effective in helping to halt the spread of the disease."
Coates has contributed to more than 260 peer-reviewed publications in addition to numerous chapters, edited books and journal articles. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science and has been honored with the American Psychological Association Award for Research in Public Policy and the Society of Behavioral Medicine Distinguished Science Award. Coates received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Counseling Psychology.
First presented in 1992, the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award recognizes a health educator who has made a substantial contribution to advancing the field of health education or health promotion through research, program development or program delivery. Health Education Award recipients are awarded $25,000.
The James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in 1991. The mission of the Foundation is to identify and honor individuals, organizations or institutions which have made great contributions to the health of the public. The Foundation seeks to reward accomplishment rather than promise, practicality rather than theory.
The UCLA Center for World Health is a joint initiative of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Health. The goal of CWH is to make UCLA a recognized global leader in health education, research and service, with a reputation for excellence in improving the health of the world's people. The center is led by Thomas J. Coates, a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, and J. Thomas Rosenthal, a professor of urology and chief medical officer for UCLA Health.
Established in 1992, the UCLA AIDS Institute is a multidisciplinary think-tank drawing on the skills of top-flight researchers in the worldwide fight against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the first cases of which were reported in 1981 by UCLA physicians. Institute members include researchers in virology and immunology, genetics, cancer, neurology, ophthalmology, epidemiology, social science, public health, nursing and disease prevention. Their findings have led to advances in treating HIV as well as other diseases such as hepatitis B and C, influenza and cancer.