Michael C. Fiore ’76


Citation for Michael C. Fiore, 2009 Common Good Award recipient.

"Michael C. Fiore of the Class of 1976, compassionate physician, tireless champion of those whose lives are enmeshed in the health consequences of tobacco use, you embody the spirit of science in service to the common good.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, you graduated from Hyde Park High School and showed an early passion for learning, a determination, and the commitment to serve the common good.  A double major in biology and psychology and a magna cum laude graduate, you were editor of the Student Course and Teacher Evaluation Project, a member of the Student Council and the Student Judiciary Board, student representative to the Board of Trustees, a Surdna Undergraduate Research Fellow, and winner of the Copeland-Gross Biology Prize.

Following your graduation you embarked on an extraordinary career in the field of medicine, undertaking predoctoral work in pulmonary medicine and occupational health at the University of Perugia in Italy before earning your M.D. at Northwestern University in 1981.  After residency training in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital, you earned a master of public health degree at Harvard University in 1985.  A post at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control led to a preventive medicine residency in the United States Office on Smoking and Health.  U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop recognized your energy, your passion, and your effectiveness, elisting [sic] you as co-author in the 1989 report of the Surgeon General on tobacco use and treatment.

As a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School you have taken on one of the greatest health challenges of our time--educating the healthcare community and the public about tobacco dependency, and developing strategies to help people stop smoking.  During the Persian Gulf Conflict in 1990-1991, as a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, you witnessed firsthand the subtle ways in which smoking moved from a stress-relieving habit to dependency.  In 1992 you founded the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, which has grown from a staff of five to one of more than seventy.

You have become one of the foremost authorities in the world on the impact of tobacco on individuals, families, and public health.  You chaired the Smoking Cessation Clinical Practices Guideline in 1996, co-authored Reducing Tobacco Use--A Report of the Surgeon General, and chaired the panel that produced The United States Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline: Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence in 2000 and its update, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence (2008).  Through your efforts, more than 70 percent of physicians now use smoking status as a vital sign that is monitored on patient charts and in office visits.  In 2003 you chaired a national action plan for tobacco cessation over a twenty-five-year period, a plan that could prevent three million premature deaths.

Your efforts have been recognized by your colleagues:  the U.S. Surgeon General's Certificate of Appreciation; the Champion of Women's Health Award from the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation; the Innovators in Combating Substance Abuse Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and the Doll/Wynder Award for Research in Epidemiology and Public Health, presented in Prague by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.  Few people will save and transform as many lives as you have--and will--over the course of your career; it is a legacy that is both profound and inspirational.

We share in this special day with your family--your wife, Beth, and your son, Chris, a member of the Class of 2009--and your many friends within the Bowdoin community.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees I am proud to present to you the 2009 Common Good Award."

May 30, 2009