Published: March 23, 2007
CDC Director Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, received the Surgeon General's Medal, this week at the annual meeting of the American Pharmacists Association. The honor was given for her "outstanding public health professionalism, extraordinary leadership and utmost commitment and dedication to the USPHS Commissioned Corps." The medallion was bestowed on her by former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH. The medallion is the highest honor that a Surgeon General can confer on an individual or organization.
It is also the highest award of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The medal is awarded in the name of the US Surgeon General for actions of exceptional achievement to the cause of public health and medicine. It is awarded by the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which is led by the US Surgeon General.
"I am both humbled and honored to receive such a prestigious award and I accept it on behalf of the hundreds of commissioned corps officers as well as others here at CDC who work with the Surgeon General's office," said Gerberding. "This award is a reflection of their outstanding work and achievements in protecting the health of all Americans."
The exact award criteria for the Surgeon General's Medal are open to the interpretation of the sitting US Surgeon General. Typically, the Surgeon General's Medal is presented for such actions as medical breakthroughs in public medicine, disease prevention and control, or exceptional service in a senior position of the Department of Health and Human Services.
This award was processed while Carmona was Surgeon General. There had not been an occasion where he and Gerberding were together until this week which is why it was presented then even though it was conferred in July.