Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H. Honored for His Major Contributions World-wide
in Reducing Premature Death and Disability from Heart Attacks and Strokes
BOCA RATON, Fla. (July XX, 2013) —Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll professor and senior academic advisor to the dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University will receive the prestigious 2013 “Fries Prize for Improving Health.” The Fries Prize for Improving Health was established in 1992 by the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation to recognize individuals who have done the most to improve health, as judged by an expert and prestigious selection jury. The award will be presented on October 7, 2013 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Hennekens takes his place among distinguished honorees that include former Surgeon General of the United States (U.S.), C. Everett Koop, M.D. and former Director of the CDC, William Foege, M.D.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this extraordinary award from the Fries Foundation,” said Hennekens. “This award is especially meaningful to me as my chief motivation to pursue an academic career in preventive cardiovascular medicine was the premature death of my beloved father from sudden cardiac death when I was 17. I am inspired by Jim and Sara Fries for their commitment to reducing premature death and suffering in the U.S. and worldwide. To paraphrase my mentor, colleague, and friend, Professor Sir Richard Doll, ‘death is inevitable, but premature death is not’.”
Hennekens has conducted seminal research on aspirin, statins, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and beta adrenergic blockers, all drugs of lifesaving benefit in the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and stroke. He was the founding principal investigator (PI) of the landmark Physician's Health Study of 22,071 dedicated and conscientious physicians. Hennekens was also a randomized subject in the trial and took a placebo for five years when his investigator-initiated research grant funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health was terminated early by the independent and external Data and Safety Monitoring Board due principally to the emergence of a statistically extreme and clinically important reduction in a first heart attack among those assigned at random to aspirin. He credits the dedicated and conscientious efforts of the participating physicians in enabling him to be the first researcher in the world to discover that aspirin prevents a first heart attack.
He was also the first to demonstrate that aspirin prevents heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths when given within 24 hours after onset of symptoms of a heart attack as well as to a wide variety of patients who have survived an event associated with a blockage in the heart, brain, or legs
“I can’t think of a more deserving recipient to receive the Fries Prize for Improving Health than my colleague and friend Charlie Hennekens,” said David J. Bjorkman, M.D., M.S.P.H., dean and executive director of medical affairs in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “Charlie has extraordinary competence, compassion and character and this important award is a fitting acknowledgment of his incredible major and varied contributions to improving the health of people in the U.S. and throughout the world.”
Bjorkman’s nomination of Hennekens was supported by Marc A. Pfeffer M.D., Ph.D., Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and David E. DeMets, Ph.D., Halperin Professor of Biostatistics and Informatics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
Hennekens is a major advocate of a healthy lifestyle. He strongly advises the general public that cardiovascular drugs of lifesaving benefit should be adjuncts not alternatives to therapeutic lifestyle changes. Specifically, the major therapeutic lifestyle changes he advocates include avoidance and cessation of smoking, avoidance and treatment of obesity, and regular physical activity, which could be as minimal as taking brisk 20 minute daily walks, which can be continued even among the elderly. He also supports the CDC initiative to prevent heart attacks through a multifactorial approach including aspirin, blood pressure control, and cholesterol reduction.
Hennekens is the author of more than 819 peer-reviewed publications, including 617 original reports, 199 reviews/book chapters and three textbooks. From 1995 to 2005, Science Watch ranked him as the third most widely cited medical researcher in the world and five of the top 20 were his former trainees and/or fellows. In 2012, Science Heroes ranked Hennekens No. 81 in the history of the world for having saved more than 1.1 million lives. This ranks him ahead of Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine, at number 83 and Henry Heimlich, who invented the Heimlich maneuver, at number 103.
About Charles Hennekens- Currently serving as the first Sir Richard Doll Research Professor at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, where he resides. He is also Voluntary Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Meharry Medical College, Clinical Professor of Preventive Medicine at Nova Southeastern University, and Visiting Fellow at Green College and the Clinical Trial Service and Epidemiology Studies Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom where he spent a year studying with Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto while funded by a Research Career Development Award from the US NIH. He is also Chair or a member of numerous independent Data and Safety Monitoring Boards for large-scale randomized trials. Can be found on a variety of Social Media sites including Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter by searching Charles Hennekens.
About Florida Atlantic University- Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Charles E Schmidt College of Medicine
Florida Atlantic University