The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) honored three members today at its annual meeting for their outstanding service. The honorees are Michael M.E. Johns, executive vice president for health affairs emeritus and professor at Emory University; Dean T. Jamison, professor emeritus at University of California, San Francisco; and Richard J. Jackson, professor emeritus at University of California, Los Angeles, and director emeritus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health.
“Year after year, the generous service and leadership of these devoted members has been critical to advancing the work of the NAM and the National Academies in addressing complex challenges in health and medicine,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “I am thrilled to honor these remarkable members for their endless dedication to improving health and furthering science.”
Johns received the Walsh McDermott Medal, which recognizes a member for distinguished service to the NAM and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine over an extended period. A nationally recognized leader in academic medicine and American health policy, Johns has led complex administrative and academic organizations to new levels of excellence while also serving as a catalyst for new thinking in health policy, technology transfer, and education reform. Since being elected to the NAM in 1993, Johns has been a highly engaged member. Highlights include serving as vice chair and then chair for Section 06 (Surgery, Anesthesia, Radiology) from 1995-1998; on the NAM Council from 1997-2002 (including a year as vice chair); and on the Governing Board of the National Research Council from 1999-2002. Johns chaired the Committee on Optimizing Graduate Medical Trainee (Resident) Hours and Work Schedules to Improve Patient Safety, which produced a 2009 consensus report that evaluated the impact of medical resident schedules on health care safety and made recommendations designed to enhance the quality and safety of care delivered. He was a member of the Roundtable on Value and Science-Driven Health Care from 2010-2013, and he served as chair of the Committee on a National Strategy for Cancer Control in the United States from 2018-2019. Most recently, Johns was tapped to serve on the NAM Program Planning Committee for the 50th Anniversary Regional Symposia–South. Many leaders have been shaped by Johns’ mentorship, and colleagues know him for his enthusiastic embrace of change and positive influence that emboldens others to take on challenges.
Jamison received the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal, which is awarded to a member from a discipline outside the health and medical sciences. Throughout his distinguished career, Jamison has made unparalleled contributions to global health by bringing economic science and ideas to the forefront. He previously worked at the World Bank as a research economist and served as lead author for the Bank’s 1993 World
Development Report, Investing in Health, which transformed global financing for health. Jamison was elected to NAM in 1994. He served on the Committee on Population from 1991-1994 and on the Board on Global Health for 17 years, including four years as chair. In this role, Jamison was also a liaison to the Committee on the Economics of Antimalarial Drugs that produced a 2004 consensus study that recommended the creation of a global-level subsidy for effective artemisinin combination therapies, which was identified as the most economically and scientifically sound solution to the twin problems of
poor access and the risk of early onset of drug resistance. He led efforts to create a new Economic Burden of Disease framework, leading to a standardized way to create an overall metric for disease burden that incorporates an economic dimension, including the large contribution of health. More recently, he has worked with leading biologists to explore the economics of innate immunity in preventing COVID infections.
Jackson was awarded the David Rall Medal, which is given to a member who has demonstrated distinguished leadership as chair of a study committee or other such activity. A national leader in environmental health, Jackson has held leadership roles in state and federal public health throughout his career, featuring innovative and far-reaching contributions as well as prominent academic roles. He chaired the National Academies committee that produced the 2011 report Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment. The report was timely and clear, and a decade later remains a seminal resource on health impact assessment. Jackson deftly integrated input from a diverse committee, whose members ranged from community representatives to academics from a variety of disciplines to public health practitioners. An important part of his committee leadership was the way he was able to translate his state-level public health experience in California with environmental impact assessments into a rigorous methodologic framework. In addition, Jackson demonstrated leadership in bringing climate change as a health concern to the NAM agenda, beginning with his membership on the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine for nearly a decade. In particular, he organized key meetings, reached out to colleagues to solicit their engagement, and was instrumental in forming Interest Group 19. He co-chaired the group during its first year, which was marked by NAM’s launch of the Grand Challenge on Climate Change, Human Health, and Equity.
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.