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What Are the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals?


The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) pay tribute to America’s dedicated federal workforce, highlighting those who have made significant contributions to our country. Honorees are chosen based on their commitment and innovation, as well as the impact of their work on addressing the needs of the nation.

Past Activity

On Thursday, October 3, 2013 the Partnership for Public Service presented nine outstanding public servants with the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies). Having earned the reputation as the “Oscars” of public service, the achievements of the 2013 medal recipients range from eradicating polio in India to landing an exploratory vehicle on Mars to saving the Air Force more than $1 billion in 2012 by reducing energy consumption. The top medal, Federal Employee of the Year, was presented to a National Institutes of Health team of doctors led by Drs. Julie Segre and Tara Palmore for revolutionizing the way hospital-acquired infections can be identified and halted through genetic sequencing of the bacteria. An estimated 100,000 U.S. patients die annually from hospital-acquired infections.

More information on the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals can be found at http://servicetoamericamedals.org/SAM/index.shtml.


How to Apply

To apply, check the the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals website: http://servicetoamericamedals.org/SAM/nominations/index.shtml.

This Year’s Winners and Finalists

This year, HHS had a number of outstanding of entries that were considered for the Sammies, which featured two winners and three additional finalists.

Winners from HHS were:

Tara Palmore and Julie SegreTara Palmore, Julie Segre and Team of the National Institutes of Health were awarded the 2013 Federal Employees of the Year designation for their work in stopping the spread of a deadly hospital-acquired infection through the first-ever use of genome sequencing to identify the source and trace the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, creating a groundbreaking model for the health care industry.

Hamid JafariHamid Jafari of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was awarded the 2013 National Security and International Affairs Recipient for his work in directing the global initiative that eradicated polio in India and is leading the effort to eliminate this crippling and potentially fatal disease in the final three countries where it persists.

Finalists from HHS were:

Michael GottesmanMichael Gottesman of the National Institutes of Health was a finalist in the category of Career Achievement Medal for having led seminal studies in the treatment of drug-resistant cancer cells and played an instrumental role in improving the rigor of medical research throughout a four-decade career.

J. Todd WeberJ. Todd Weber and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Multistate Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis and Other Infections Response Team was a finalist in the category of Citizen Services Medal for having quickly identified contaminated medicine as the cause of a major meningitis outbreak in 2012, and led the national public health response, alerting 14,000 potentially exposed patients and providing treatment information to the medical community.

Nora D. Volkow

Nora D. Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse was a finalist the category of Science and Environment for having demonstrated that drug addiction is a disease that changes brain function and created new strategies for treating patients with substance abuse issues.


HHS Winner and Finalists  Projects

Below is the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals Gallery. To read more about each project click on the beaker icon (beaker icon) under the project title.

Anti-Cancer Research Project
Anti-Cancer Research
Sammies Beaker: Anti-Cancer Research
Creating a polio-free world
Creating a Polio-Free World
Sammies Beaker: Creating a Polio-Free World
Moving Drug Addiction Science into the Mainstream
Moving Drug Addiction Science into the Mainstream
Sammies Beaker: Moving Drug Addiction Science into the Mainstream
Stopping a Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
Stopping a Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
Sammies Beaker: Stopping a Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
Superbug Code Breakers
Superbug Code Breakers
Sammies Beaker: superbug code


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