Along with researchers studying nuclear reprogramming and physicians who developed a revolutionary leukemia drug, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg won a public service award from the Lasker Foundation today. The honor recognizes Bloomberg's public health policies—from banning smoking in bars and restaurants to eliminating trans fats in city eateries—along with his philanthropic efforts to support public health education and global anti-smoking campaigns.
Bloomberg's public health policies have at times met with resistance.
Some saw the trans fat ban as paternalistic and injecting the government into people's dinner decisions. Others believe that the mayor's policies don't always have strong scientific backing. J. Justin Wilson, a senior research analyst at the industry-supported Center for Consumer Freedom, told ScienceInsider that policies such as the trans fat ban make people believe they can splurge on unhealthy foods because the government has made restaurant food healthier.
Bloomberg will receive the 2009 Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service 2 October along with the five other award winners.