ASTHO Awarded 2022 Fries Prize for Improving Public Health During COVID-19

November 07, 2022

(L-R): Nirav Shah, Mysheika Roberts and Margaret Jahn
Photo Credit: CDC Foundation
(L-R): Michael Fraser and Nirav Shah
Photo Credit: CDC Foundation
(L-R): Nirav Shah, Mysheika Roberts, Judy Monroe, Greg Fries, Margaret Jahn and Martha Katz
Photo Credit: CDC Foundation

BOSTON, MA—Today, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) along with two other national public health associations, received the 2022 Fries Prize for their contribution to improving public health with an emphasis on saving and protecting lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, the most significant threat to public health in over a century. The award, presented to individuals or organizations doing the most to improve public health, was announced this morning at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Boston.

Nirav Shah, MD, JD, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and immediate past ASTHO president, accepted the award on behalf of ASTHO. “This is an award that belongs to every public health professional who tirelessly and selflessly served their states and territories during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their efforts to protect their communities from COVID-19 infection through education, contact tracing, testing, and vaccination were unprecedented. ASTHO is humbled and honored to receive this year’s Fries award on behalf of every state and territorial public health agency in the nation.”

ASTHO has played a central role in response to COVID-19 over the past few years. Through its mission to support, equip, and advocate for state and territorial health officials in their work to promote public health and well-being, the organization will continue to provide public health capacity-building and technical assistance to health authorities nationwide.

“This award is a testament to the hard work of ASTHO’s members, and our partnership with local health departments across the country. It is well-deserved, and we are proud to accept it on behalf of our hardworking state and territorial public health leaders and our ASTHO team that gave so much during this historic global pandemic,” said ASTHO CEO Michael R. Fraser, PhD. “Being recognized in this way is an honor, and one which we greatly appreciate.”

Also honored at today’s award presentation are Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The monetary award for the Fries Prize for Improving Health is $60,000, which will be distributed among the three organizations. This is the first time in its 30-year history that three organizations will be recognized simultaneously.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.

The James F. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation is a nonprofit corporation incorporated in 1991. The mission of the foundation is to identify and honor individuals, organizations or institutions, which have made great contributions to the health of the public. The foundation seeks to reward accomplishment rather than promise, practicality rather than theory.