Thailand names three U.S. doctors winners of Prince Mahidol Awards

Thailand has named three medical professionals from the U.S. and one from Australia as the winners of this year’s Prince Mahidol Awards, the most prestigious prizes for medicine and public health in Asia.

As an honor in the medical field, the Prince Mahidol Awards are considered second only to the Nobel Prize, and several Prince Mahidol awardees have gone to win Nobel Prizes.

After a careful selection process, the Prince Mahidol Awards Committee chose to bestow its prize for medicine on Professor Ralph DeFronzo of the U.S. for his work on Type 2 diabetes. In the field of public health, it named Dr. Douglas Lowy and Dr. John Schiller of the U.S. and Professor Ian Frazer of Australia as awardees for their efforts in the development of an HPV vaccine.

“The award is given to those who make outstanding contributions in medical fields and dedicate themselves to research and development to help save people’s lives around the world,” said Prof. Vicharn Panich Chairman of the Foundation’s International Award Committee.

He made the announcement at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, the first major hospital in Thailand, which opened in the late 1800s and was modernized with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation early in the 20th century.

Vicharn said that the four winners of the 31st Prince Mahidol Award were chosen from 88 nominees from 34 countries.

The Committee announced that DeFronzo’s achievements were the result of research into the novel pathophysiology of Type 2 diabetes. His work has saved people from Type 2 diabetes and saved millions of patients from chronic diabetic complications.

The achievements of Lowy, Schiller and Frazer have led to the development of HPV vaccines, which have prevented HPV infection, cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers and have saved countless of lives.

The awards are named after Prince Mahidol, the grandfather of H.M. King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua. Prince Mahidol, regarded as the “Father of Thai Medicine and Public Health,” was a graduate of Harvard Medical School.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great is Prince Mahidol’s second son, who was born while the Prince was attending Harvard. His Majesty is the only king born in the United States.

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