Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna with a demonstrated record of distinguished service and achievement in any public health discipline or setting. These alumni have made humanitarian contributions and had significant impact, advancing the field through research or practice. They have also demonstrated exceptional resourcefulness, innovation, and/or creativity.


2019 Michael Gale Michael Gale Jr., PhD, Pathobiology, '94 
Dr. Gale's innovative research has had a profound impact on global health, and he is highly sought after as a mentor. He is a professor in the UW Department of Immunology, founder and director of the UW Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease, and co-director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Disease. He is an international leader in the field of RNA viruses and innate immunity, and his research has influenced the new and growing field of host-directed innate immune therapeutics.   Read More
2018 Bruce M. Psaty Bruce M. Psaty, MPH '86 
Dr. Psaty has made exceptional contributions to the School's mission of research, teaching and service, beginning with the development of the UW's first course in cardiovascular disease epidemiology in 1987. A national leader in encouraging better post-market surveillance of approved medications, he has also advocated for advances in regulatory science at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.   Read More
2017 Bernice Dahn Bernice Dahn, MPH ’05
Dahn earned her MPH in the aftermath of a prolonged civil war that decimated Liberia's health infrastructure and compelled many of its health workers to flee. Her aim of completing the degree: to target head-on the challenges she and her countrypersons faced in rebuilding their health system. She was integral in bringing an end to the country’s Ebola outbreak and in restoring routine health services as the Deputy Minister and Chief Medical Officer. She later served as the Minister of Health of Liberia.  Read More
2017 Patricia Garcia Patricia Garcia, MPH ’98
Garcia’s training in internal medicine, infectious disease and public health paved the way for her success. She became a leading researcher in sexually transmitted disease, the first female chair of the Peruvian National Institute of Health and Peru’s health minister.  Read More
2016 Riojas Rogelio Rogelio Riojas, MHA ’77
Rogelio Riojas has devoted his career to providing quality, affordable health care and access to jobs and education, especially for Latinos and migrant workers. In 1978, he founded Sea Mar Community Health Centers and currently serves as its President and CEO. From one location in King County, he has expanded the organization to 11 counties in WA state.  Read More
2015 Mary Bassett Mary Travis Bassett, MPH ’85
Dr. Mary Travis Bassett has devoted her 30-year career in public health to advancing health equity. Her work has taken her from addressing one of the world’s worst AIDS epidemics in Zimbabwe, to strengthening health systems in Africa, to establishing district health offices in disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City. Since January 2014, she has served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Read More
2014 Robert Newman Robert Newman, MPH ’98
A pediatrician, Dr. Newman has had a distinguished career in global health, including leading efforts against malaria for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). He is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Global Health. Read More
2013 Michael Phillips Michael Phillips, MPH ’84
Dr. Phillips has spent virtually his entire career in China, working in suicide research and prevention, and integrating clinical psychiatry and public mental health.  He is currently director of the Suicide Research and Prevention Center at Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai.  In January 2013 he became the first mental-health professional to receive the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, the highest honor China bestows on foreign scientists. 
2012 Arthur Kellermann Arthur Kellermann, MPH ’85
In 2013, Dr. Kellermann was named Dean of the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  It is the country’s only federal medical school and is ranked among the top in the nation. 
2011 DAA Patti Janssen Patti Janssen, MPH '93, PhD '01
Dr. Janssen is a professor at the University of British Columbia School of Population & Public Health, and the Co-Director of their Interdisciplinary Women's Reproductive Health Research Training Program.
2010 Chris Elias Chris Elias, MPH '90
Chris Elias is president of the Global Development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading efforts to find new ways to get solutions and products to the people in developing countries who need them most. For many years he was president and CEO of PATH, the Seattle-based international nonprofit organization working in more than 70 countries and dedicated to improving the health of people around the world. 
2009 Frederick Rivara Frederick Rivara, MPH '80
Fred Rivara is the George Adkins Professor of Pediatrics, Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, and Head of the General Division of the Department of Pediatrics in the UW School of Medicine. He is also Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. He has co-authored three books and published over 400 articles, book chapters, technical reports, and monographs. Dr. Rivara has been honored as an educator, health researcher, clinician, journal editor, and child health advocate.
2008 Ward Hinds Ward Hinds MD, MPH '75
Ward Hinds retired in 2007 as Health Officer of the Snohomish Health District, a post he held for more than 20 years. He inspired his students (he taught in both Epidemiology and Health Services) and colleagues with his energy and willingness to take leadership positions on an array of issues. He is also an active member of our Alumni Advisory Board.
2007 Natalia Kanem Natalia Kanem, MPH '90
Natalia Kanem is an international advocate for women’s and children’s health and education. She is a senior associate of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, a think tank dedicated to development in the Caribbean. She was founding president of ELMA Philanthropies, an organization promoting health and education for African children. For 13 years she served as deputy vice president of the Ford Foundation, focusing  on global programs to bolster peace and social justice.
2006 Donn Colby Donn Colby, eMPH '11
Donn Colby is the Acting In-Country Medical Director of VCHAP, the Vietnam-CDC-Harvard AIDS Partnership. VCHAP provides training on HIV/AIDS clinical care and anti-retroviral drug treatment to Vietnamese physicians working in clinics funded through the PEPFAR program.