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Malaria Prevention Project Takes Top Prize for Social Impact at Abt Associates Annual Meeting

Scientific Impact and Technical Innovation Also Recognized

Rockville, Md.—Abt Associates recognized outstanding achievements for social and scientific impact along with technical innovation at the company’s 2021 annual meeting.

“I want to congratulate this year’s award winners, whose work has combined deep expertise with bold thinking across our portfolio,” said Abt President and CEO Kathleen Flanagan.

“From protecting 31 million people against malaria to answering important policy questions about incarceration, sentencing, and recidivism, our staff continue to deliver on our mission and advance the fields in which we work.” 

Clark Abt Prize for Outstanding Social Impact

The Clark Abt Prize for Social Impact was established to recognize work that is expertly executed at a broad scale, and whose social benefits can be credibly linked directly to Abt Associates’ efforts.  

This year’s winner is the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) VectorLink project team--Brad Lucas, Allan Were, Mariandrea Chamorro, Kate Stillman, Peter Chandonait, Aklilu Seyoum, and Angela Sanchez-- which protected 31 million people by successfully carrying out complex malaria control operations in the face of COVID-19.

Malaria kills more than 400,000 people every year and millions more become sick from this mosquito-borne disease. In early 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that if essential malaria interventions were greatly disrupted due to COVID-19, death rates could double, and hospitals could collapse under the weight of malaria cases.  

The project team swiftly adapted its programs to ensure training, operations, community mobilization, monitoring, and evaluations followed WHO guidance to protect frontline workers, staff, partners, and beneficiaries from COVID-19. Obstacles the PMI VectorLink team had to overcome included the reduced availability of commodities, unreliable logistics systems, and increased time for procurements.  

The team achieved a 100 percent track record for on-time delivery of insecticides, personal protective equipment, and other commodities.  The project trained more than 30,000 people in malaria spraying, sprayed nearly six million structures, and protected 21 million people from malaria in 16 sub-Saharan countries. An additional 10 million people were protected by 5.7 million insecticide-treated nets distributed by the project.   

Outstanding Scientific Impact 

Tom Rich, Ryan Kling, Melissa Nadel, Chris Cutler, and John Thacker won for their work on the National Corrections Reporting Program, which provides the scientific foundation for researchers to answer important policy questions about prosecution, incarceration, sentencing, and recidivism. Working with the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, this team developed a novel data system that, for the first time, allows researchers to track individuals over time, from their first contact with the criminal justice system.  

The team published roughly 20 original papers using data gathered on topics such as demographic changes to the prison population—for example, the growth of the elderly population. More than 400 publications have cited the data generated by this system. 

Technical Innovation Award  

The award went to a team that developed a cost-benefit methodology and tool to estimate the value of ecosystem services--and related costs—that address environmental health risks--Santiago Enriquez, David Cooley, Ben Matek, Kait Seigel, Leah Quin, Alexa Smith-Rommel, and Lindsay Foley.   

The client, USAID, is sharing Abt’s analyses with other companies as an example of what can be achieved with cost-benefit analysis and ecosystem service valuation. 

“These awards demonstrate our staff often overcame significant hurdles to develop novel solutions to the challenges presented,” said Flanagan. “They ensured we didn’t miss a beat, which means support was delivered without delay to those who needed it.” 

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.

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