2012 Leadership in Public Health Practice Award

Francisco S. Sy, SM '81

Dr. Francisco Sy exhibits the rare and commendable attributes of personal dedication, attention to expanding knowledge, leadership and principled conduct in the practice of public health.

His academic leadership began in 1985 at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health, where he developed and directed the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program, in addition to mentoring master’s and doctoral graduate students in epidemiology.

Those same years saw his global leadership at the CDC, NIH, and in the Office of Assistant Secretary of HHS, Dr. Howard Koh, developing resources to address major public health issues. During the 2003 SARS outbreak, he was a senior member of the CDC’s investigation team, and spearheaded outreach to Chinese communities in the US. During those critical years for a coordinated response to HIV/AIDS, he created AIDS Education and Prevention - An Interdisciplinary Journal, and has been editor of this sole international peer-reviewed forum for the past 23 years. He organized international conferences, developed novel programs as Director at the East Carolina HIV/AIDS Prevention Partnership, led the Jerusalem Project’s Middle East workshops on HIV/AIDS education and prevention, and was a team leader of HIV/AIDS program evaluations at the CDC as well as their Senior Health Scientist in the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention.

Since 2004 Dr. Sy has provided leadership at the NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, where today he oversees research and vital service programs as Director of the Office of Extramural Research Administration. He served as HHS representative on the implementation team of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders while he was on special detail assignment to the Assistant Secretary for Health.

Dr. Sy is the recipient of numerous distinguished alumnus and service awards. He is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. An equally important aspect of his leadership is the respect that he has earned for his kindness and wisdom. Across the spectrum he has championed the global reach of public health practice as a mentor to the next generation of professionals, national leader and author of scientific letters.