Thomas Coates, the director of the UCLA Program in Global Health and the Michael and Sue Steinberg Endowed Professor of Global AIDS Research within the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA, received the 2013 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award for his pioneering research on HIV-related volunteer testing and counseling.
He received the award from the James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation April 18 at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education in Orlando, Fla.
“I am honored and humbled by this wonderful award from the Fries Foundation,” said Coates. “It is even more meaningful, given the wonderful family who built this foundation and gave the award for public health.”
From the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, Coates recognized that education could be a critical element in preventing transmission of HIV. Before joining UCLA, Coates was the founding executive director of the University of California, San Francisco AIDS Research Institute, leading it from 1996 to 2003.
His areas of emphasis and expertise are HIV prevention, the relationship of prevention and treatment for HIV and HIV policies. He has just completed directing a randomized clinical trial in 48 communities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Thailand to determine the impact of HIV de-stigmatization strategies on HIV incidence rates community-wide. He is also conducting research in Uganda, Peru and China.
“Professor Coates’ contributions in the field of health education have improved HIV-related health care, reduced risk factors and saved lives in vulnerable populations worldwide,” said James Fries, professor of medicine at Stanford University. “Significant progress has been made to contain AIDS over the past 30 years, and Dr. Coates’ work in education has proved to be extremely effective in helping to halt the spread of the disease.”