Cordero Receives APHA’s 2017 Sedgwick Memorial Medal

Oct 3, 2017 | PROTECT Team

PROTECT is excited to report that Dr. José F. Cordero, PROTECT Co-Director, was selected by The American Public Health Association (APHA) to receive the 2017 Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Service in Public Health in recognition of his public health research and mentorship achievements as well as his lifelong effort to translate scientific findings to public health practice and policy. The Sedgwick Memorial Medal is commonly known as APHA’s “oldest and most prestigious award,” and is only given to one individual per year. Awardees will be honored during APHA’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo, which will be held November 4-8 in Atlanta, GA.

Cordero is internationally renowned for his lifelong dedication to addressing maternal and child health as well as minority health and health disparities. He is the Patel Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the College of Public Health, University of Georgia. He has served as the Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus as well as in multiple high-level positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is the former president of the Teratology Society and was active in the APHA, the March of Dimes, the NIH Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

In the 1970s, Cordero’s investigation led to a chloride deficient soy-based formula which had harmed over 50,000 babies being pulled from the market. Similarly, his research through the 1980s on the protective effects of folic acid has been instrumental in reducing neural tube defects such as spina bifida as well as in leading to the fortification of some cereal grains such as wheat flour with folic acid. Cordero helped lead the effort to also fortify corn masa flour with folic acid.

In recent years, Cordero has become more engaged in environmental health research and impacts on maternal and child health through the PROTECT and CRECE Centers. With PROTECT and CRECE, both of which he co-directs, he conducts community outreach and education, most recently focused on providing education to healthcare providers in Puerto Rico.

Congratulations, and thank you for all of your excellent work, José!