The Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) and Health Systems Global (HSG) are pleased to announce the winners of the first-ever Awards in the field of Health Policy and Systems Research. The Awards were presented on 17 November 2016, during the Fourth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, which is held from 14 to 18 November 2016 in Vancouver, Canada. They are aimed at recognizing the contributions of researchers and policymakers to the field of health policy and systems research and to evidence-based policy making in health.
The Sam Adjei Distinguished Public Service Award, and Award for Lifetime Service to the field of HPSR, was jointly presented by the Chair of AHPSR Board, Dr David Peters and Chair of the HSG Board, Dr Kabir Sheikh.
Dr David Peters said, “These awards celebrate their achievements with the knowledge that the work they have accomplished will build excellence and further promote the field of health systems and policy research. With higher standards of excellence, we are better equipped to find holistic solutions to many of the health challenges faced by countries.”
Commenting on the adjudication process, Dr Kabir Sheikh, said, “We are pleased to have initiated these awards with AHPSR. The quality of nominations received was extremely high. This is testimony that more individuals and organizations around the world are recognizing the significance of health policy and systems research and its application to the field of policy making, especially in the SDG era. Being able to select and recognize the individuals that have made major contributions to the advancement of a field was a great honor for the committee members and we are proud to have contributed to the selection of award winners.”
The Sam Adjei Distinguished Public Service Award was presented to Dr Irene Agyepong (in absentia) for her academic and policy reform contributions to advancing the field. Dr Agyepong received this Award for her role as Technical Advisor for the development and implementation of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme, thus enabling more people to access affordable healthcare. She is currently working in the Research and Development directorate of the Ghana Health service after serving for three years as full-time seconded faculty from the Ghana Health Service, in the Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management at the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health, where she has taught part-time for over a decade. Internationally, Dr Agyepong is on multiple advisory committees and also was a founding Board member of HSG and served as the First Chair of the Society up until 2014. Furthermore, she has been a member and Chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the AHPSR. Dr Agyepong has an MBChB from the University of Ghana Medical School, a Master of Public Health from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and a doctorate in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.
The Award for Lifetime Service to the field of HPSR was conferred to two individuals in its inaugural award, to recognize their outstanding contributions and achievements.
The Award for Lifetime Service to the field of HPSR was conferred to Professor Dame Anne Mills who is an outstanding researcher and academic leader in health economics and health systems research. During her 40-year career, Professor Mills has greatly contributed to the development of health economics research and capacity in low and middle-income countries. Professor Mills is currently the Deputy Director and Provost of the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine, and also Professor of Health Economics and Policy in the School’s Department of Global Health and Development. In December 2014, Professor Mills became a Dame in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in recognition of her longstanding services to international health. Previous prestigious awards presented to Professor Mills include the Prince Mahidol Award in 2010. In 2009, she was elected Fellow of the United Kingdom Academy of Medical Sciences, and in 2013 Fellow of the Royal Society. She was the founding Chair of the AHPSR Board, overseeing its first 10 years’ development.
The second recipient of the Lifetime Service Award is Professor Michael R. Reich, who has made distinguished contributions to research and education of health systems for more than four decades. In his writing and teaching, Professor Reich has emphasized the importance of political analysis in the assessment of health policy and health systems. He is the Taro Takemi Professor of International Health Policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and received his PhD in political science from Yale University. Among his many publications is the landmark book on health system reform, coauthored with colleagues at Harvard: Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity. Professor Reich is founding co-Editor-in-Chief of the new journal, Health Systems & Reform, which focuses on health policy and systems research. He helped establish the Takemi Programme in International Health at Harvard in 1983, and has served as its director for many years. To date, this programme has hosted more than 250 mid-career Takemi Fellows from over 50 countries. In April 2015, the government of Japan awarded Professor Reich the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for his outstanding contributions to the promotion of Japan’s policy for global public health as well as for advancing public health in Japan.
The next Societal Awards will be held at the Fifth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in 2018 in Liverpool, England.