Each year, the Sabin Vaccine Institute awards the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award to an individual or small team that has made extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field.

The first Gold Medal recipient was D.A. Henderson, leader of the global smallpox eradication campaign, who passed away last month. The Washington Post remembered Dr. Henderson as a “disease detective,” “inspiring heroics from the tens of thousands of field workers.”

Since its creation in 1994, this award has honored those who have devoted their lives to preventing infectious diseases, making lasting contributions to research and development, and inspiring generations of clinicians, researchers and global health professionals.

In 2000, the Gold Medal committee recognized another hero in the fight against smallpox. Sabin’s own Dr. Ciro de Quadros, who served as Executive Vice President of Sabin for more than a decade until his passing in 2014, led public health campaigns to eradicate polio and measles from the Western Hemisphere, and smallpox from Ethiopia.

In addition to smallpox, Gold Medal recipients have made great strides in research, vaccine development and disease reduction for many other pernicious infectious diseases, including polio, measles, rotavirus, pneumococcal disease, meningitis, Hib, chicken pox, cholera and even human papillomavirus (HPV), to prevent cervical cancer.

Together, through technological advancements, tireless advocacy and a shared commitment to conquering infectious diseases, these global health heroes have saved countless millions of lives.

Do you know a hero in the field of vaccinology? Nominate the next Gold Medal Award winner. The call for nominations is now open for the 2017 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award.