CUMC Professor is First Woman Named a "CDC Hero"

Barbara Barlow, MD, professor emerita of surgery in epidemiology, was presented with the 2011 CDC Foundation Hero Award at a special event at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). First presented in 2005, the CDC Foundation Hero Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution in promoting health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. The CDC Foundation is honoring Dr. Barlow for her leadership and innovation in working with communities to implement science-based approaches to reducing injuries to children. Dr. Barlow is the first woman ever to receive this award.

Dr. Barlow's research has focused on traumatic injury to children and injury prevention for the past 25 years. She is the founder and executive director of the School’s Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a national coalition of Injury Prevention Programs in 42 trauma centers located in cities throughout the U.S., including Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The Injury Free program brings public health and medical practitioners together with community members to design and implement programs to reduce injuries to children based on local needs. The programs involve combinations of education like bicycle safety, construction of safe play areas, and the development and support of safe, supervised activities like dance classes or sports teams with strong adult mentors.

"Dr. Barlow has worked tirelessly to decrease injuries in children across the nation, and has been a leader in integrating multiple strategies to reduce injuries, ensuring that the interventions included community involvement," says Linda Degutis, DrPh, MSN, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "Her contribution in this area is immeasurable, and she serves as a unique role model for health practitioners in going beyond their routine work, and often beyond their comfort zone, to work with the community to improve health." Degutis, is one of three people who nominated Barlow to receive the CDC Foundation Hero Award.

Dr. Barlow, an integral member of the Mailman School’s injury epidemiology team, has received numerous awards for her work with Injury Free, including recognition from the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Safety Council, the American Trauma Society, and the American Public Health Association. Dr. Barlow received a BA from Vassar College, an MA in Psychology from Columbia University, and an MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

"We are honored to recognize Dr. Barlow for her exemplary work," says Charles Stokes, CDC Foundation president and CEO. "Most Americans are not aware of CDC's significant work and leadership in protecting people and saving lives through injury prevention. We are proud to shine a light on Dr. Barlow, CDC, and partners at all levels who are working with such dedication and passion in this important field."

Previous recipients include: William Foege, MD, MPH, senior fellow of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former CDC director; Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, founding director of Partners In Health; and Sir Michael Marmot, MBBS, MPH, PhD, director of the University College London International Institute for Society and Health and MRC Research Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health.


awards, injury prevention, public health