The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal—the highest civilian award in the U.S. It recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Two National Institutes of Health Institute Directors have been honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom:
Anthony Fauci (2008). For his efforts to advance the understanding and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Read the press release from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Francis Collins (2007). For leading the federally funded Human Genome Project to completion. Read the NIH Record story.