Distinguished Alumna

Christine Hurley photo

Christine Hurley named 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

A trailblazing health care leader and advocate for vulnerable communities


Over the last four decades, Christine Hurley (MHA ’77) has worked tirelessly to reduce barriers to health care, safe and stable housing, and other social services for the elderly, the homeless and LGBTQ individuals, including those with AIDS. She is a dedicated teacher and mentor, and her efforts have informed national models for equitable health services. 

For her outstanding service and achievement in public health, Hurley will receive the University of Washington School of Public Health’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award, the School’s highest honor.

“Chris took her training and the privilege and power it created for her, and used it to advance the health and well-being of people struggling to survive in tough circumstances,” said Amy Hagopian, professor of health services and global health and director of the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) program. “She’s served people experiencing poverty, homelessness and despair in ways designed to bring them dignity and agency. She brings the right values, the right attitudes and real heart to her work.”

Hurley was a leading figure in Seattle’s community health center movement of the late 1970s. In 1977, the year she earned her Master of Health Administration, she founded the Pike Market Medical Clinic, a grass-roots community health center serving low-income residents in downtown Seattle. The clinic developed a national reputation for its geriatric services, “offering specialized services rarely seen in other primary care settings,” said Hurley, “including community nursing outreach, foot care, housing advocacy, social work and internal medicine providers.”

Hurley also co-founded the Pike Place Market Foundation, which has since raised $30 million for a web of social service organizations in Pike Place Market. In 1991, Hurley founded Seattle’s Bailey-Boushay House, the nation’s first nursing home serving people with AIDS at the end of life. “I learned more about what it means to be a human being while at Bailey-Boushay than any other place,” Hurley said.

Hurley has served as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health Services at the UW School of Public Health since 1996. She is also a core faculty member of the COPHP program, where she has taught a leadership and management course for Master of Public Health students.

A moderated conversation with Hurley will take place Jan. 16, 7:30 to 9 pm, in the UW’s Kane Hall 210.