Nov. 14 2013

A paper co-authored by Dean Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, with Dean Frumkin at the University of Washington was recognized for excellence as The 2013 American Journal of Public Health Paper of the Year. The paper, "Aging, Climate Change, and Legacy Thinking," published in AJPH in August 2012, was cited for substantially and innovatively contributing to the knowledge and understanding of an important public health issue. Dr. Fried with lead author Dr. Howard Frumkin and Dr. Rick Moody of AARP were acknowledged at an award banquet at the APHA Annual Meeting in Boston last week. A formal article of recognition will also be published in an upcoming issue of the journal.

The paper is a commentary on the impact of climate change on an aging population and makes the point that older people are an important sub-population that is especially susceptible to these global changes. Given that older adults are also deeply concerned about the adverse impacts for the next generations, this age group may have the potential to help create the societal will to mitigate climate change. This notion of legacy may be a resource for shaping attitudes and behavior change, addressing long-term, large-scale challenges and for advancing policy.

In conferring the award, the AJPH Awards Committee honored Dean Fried and co-authors for “persuading readers to think differently about a topic…and connect two of the major public health issues of our era – the aging of the population and the health effects of climate change – …by emphasizing the concern of older adults for legacy, that is, leaving behind an intact world for their children and grandchildren.”

Dr. Linda P. Fried is a leader in the fields of epidemiology and geriatrics who has dedicated her career to the science of healthy aging and creating the basis for a transition to a world where greater longevity benefits people of all ages. An internationally renowned scientist, she has done seminal work in defining frailty as a medical condition, illuminating its causes and the potential for prevention as keys to optimizing health for older adults. Dr. Fried is also the designer and co-founder of Experience Corps, a scientifically designed community-based program in 23 U.S. cities.