On May 24, 2018, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids presented the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence to Ramona Brad, Project Director for the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative. The award was presented at our 2018 Youth Advocates of the Year Awards Gala in Washington, DC.

2018 Awardee

Ramona Brad, Project Director
2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative

Ramona Brad is Project Director of the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative, a national campaign with the goal of eliminating the death and disease caused by tobacco use in Romania. Ms. Brad has been the driving force in building a coalition of more than 350 organizations that advocates for proven policies to reduce tobacco use.

In 2015, Ms. Brad helped lead the Romania Breathes Coalition, which successfully advocated for a comprehensive, national smoke-free law that applies to all public places and workplaces. The law was a historic step for a country with high rates of smoking. Ms. Brad led the coalition’s network building, strategy development and communications efforts, bringing together more than 250 non-governmental organizations and well-known public figures, building public support through an extensive media campaign and advocating with the Romanian Parliament and numerous government ministries. She subsequently helped defeat tobacco industry efforts to weaken the law. In 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Romania recognized Ms. Brad’s heroic efforts by presenting her with the Women of Courage Award.

In 2016, Ms. Brad launched the 2035 Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative. She mobilized medical, academic and civic organizations and won the support of Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis, who hosted the campaign launch at the presidential palace – a first for a public health initiative.

Along with her colleagues, Ms. Brad successfully advocated for a 2016 law that implemented the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive (which governs the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products) and authorized the government to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. Along with the smoke-free law, this measure made Romania a tobacco control leader in Eastern Europe.

Ms. Brad is described by her colleagues as passionate, determined, creative and able to build coalitions across all sectors of society. While she has only been involved in tobacco control for about three years, she has accomplished a great deal in this short time.

About Judy Wilkenfeld

When Judy Wilkenfeld died on May 24, 2007, the world lost an incomparable advocate of tobacco control. Judy worked tirelessly to reduce tobacco's toll for more than 20 years, first as a public official and then as a leader of Tobacco-Free Kids' international efforts. Among her many accomplishments, Judy played an integral role in the development and adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the emergence of the Framework Convention Alliance.

Her expertise and devotion forever changed the world of tobacco control. But Judy's true impact extends far beyond her professional achievements. Judy was unique in the way she respectfully treated colleagues, and in the way she brought them together. Judy touched favorably upon the lives of all who knew her, and served as a role model to many.

In Judy's honor, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has established the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence, which is given annually to an advocate from a low- or middle-income country who has worked to significantly reduce tobacco use through policy advocacy and exemplifies the traits for which Judy was known.

Like Judy, the winner of the award will exemplify the following traits:

  • Exhibits utmost respect in honoring the diversity of the tobacco control community;
  • Works to build consensus and bring people together;
  • Serves as a mentor and/or role model for others in the movement;
  • Has an established record of achievement; and
  • Demonstrates the potential to be an even more significant future leader.

We at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are blessed to have worked with Judy, and we are delighted to offer this award in her honor to recognize and support other promising advocates.