The  Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award

for 2004 is presented to Dr. Sherry Glied

Comments by Eugene Garfield,  

 President and Founder/Editor, The Scientist®
Chairman Emeritus, ISI®

3501 Market Street Philadelphia, PA  19104
Tel. 215-243-2205   .   Fax  215-387-1266
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The  Award Ceremony of Research!America
October 19, 2004 in Washington DC

Dr. Sherry GliedThis is now the third annual award to honor significant research contributing to an understanding of the factors that determine the impact of biomedical research.  On the two previous occasions of this award ceremony, I had the pleasure and privilege of commenting briefly when introducing both David Meltzer of the University of Chicago and then David Cutler of Harvard.  On the latter occasion, we not only heard from David but also one of his former medical economist collaborators Mark McClellan, then the Director of the FDA and now the Administrator for Medicare and Medicaid services.

I was asked to say something today on the historic origins of this award which can be traced back 25 years to the pioneering work of physicians Julius Comroe and Robert Dripps as well as the economist Ed Mansfield at the University of Pennsylvania.  Since  my earlier remarks are recorded on my website I refer you there for the sake of brevity.1

The members of the Award Committee are well aware that proving the  economic impact of basic research is not a simple task.  What indeed do we mean by economic impact?  Is it simply growth in GNP?  Is it growth in well being?  Or, as  recently expressed in the American Scientist, is it growth in Gross National Happiness?2

Psychologists Ed Diener (University of Illinois) and Martin Seligman (University of Pennsylvania) have published on this recently in Psychological Science in the Public Interest and argue that “well being should become a primary focus of policy makers and its rigorous measurement as a primary policy imperative.” 3  They define well being as people’s positive evaluations of their lives and includes emotion, engagement, satisfaction, and meaning.”


Sherry Glied has worked in a variety of fields that are related to several indicators of economic impact as well as well being.  How do you measure the worth of a child?  And what is the value of reducing child mortality due to injuries.  Thank goodness someone has looked at this problem and gives us another perspective on the value of biomedical and epidemiological research.


2. Esty, A. "The New Wealth of Nations," American Scientist 92(6):513 (Nov-Dec 2004)

3. Diener E and Seligman MEP. "Beyond Money. Toward an Economy of Well-Being,"Psychological Science in the Public Interest 5(1): 1-31 (2004)

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