Dr. Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, was honored today with the prestigious Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health. The annual award, presented jointly by the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), recognized the major public health contributions that Hotez has made to improve the lives of people living in the Americas.

In addition to his leadership role at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Hotez serves as director of a new center for vaccine development at Texas Children's Hospital and was recently named the founding dean of the first national school of tropical medicine, located at Baylor College of Medicine.

"The Sabin Vaccine Institute is fortunate to have the benefit of Dr. Hotez's drive and energy. His extensive record of innovation in global health is clearly reflected in this award, which showcases his deep dedication to the prevention of neglected tropical diseases in the Americas," said Michael W. Marine, Sabin chief executive officer. "In addition to the recognition of Dr. Hotez's accomplishments, the Horwitz Award calls attention to health concerns throughout the hemisphere and will inspire continuing achievements in region-wide public health."

The Horwitz Award was established in 1975 to honor creative public health leaders whose commitment to public health stimulates excellence among their peers, staff and other public health professionals. Dr. Abraham Horwitz, a native of Chile, served as director of PAHO from 1958 to 1975 and as president of PAHEF from 1975 to 2000. Among his many achievements, he laid the groundwork for the eradication of smallpox in the Americas and is known for organizing Chile's National Health Service. In Horwitz's mold, winners of this prestigious award selflessly serve the public's health, champion change and manage risks, all for the enhancement of health beyond their own borders.

Hotez said of the award, "I am honored to be included among this year's winners of the Horwitz Award and I hope to continue to celebrate Dr. Horwitz's accomplishments in global health through Sabin's innovative efforts to prevent and cure vaccine-preventable infectious diseases in the Americas and worldwide."

A select jury of public health professionals, along with the foundation board, chose Hotez after reviewing a pool of highly qualified nominations. Hotez and other 2011 award winners will be honored at an awards event hosted by PAHEF/PAHO in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 26. Invitees include many distinguished individuals, including ministers of health, ambassadors from Organization of American States (OAS) member countries and private sector representatives.