The world has lost a great public health superhero.

Yesterday morning, our friend Dr. Lori Ahrenhoerster lost her battle against cancer.

Lori was a member of the inaugural class of students at the UWM Zilber School of Public Health, and she was the first to defend her PhD in 2014. Beyond her dissertation research, she was very active in the early stages of the school, serving as a student member on planning and accreditation committees, helping to establish the Public Health Graduate Student Association, and was a great advocate for public health and public health education in the Milwaukee area.

After graduation, she worked in the Zilber School’s student recruitment office, consulted with the school on the curriculum design of two undergraduate courses for the Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health, and taught several courses for us over the years.

Among her many accomplishments in the Zilber School of Public Health, one of which she was particularly proud was her work on the planning and implementation of a lactation room in the downtown School of Public Health Building. At the time of the building opening, this space was truly unique for UW-Milwaukee and has been a model in several other locations across the UWM campus.

Lori eventually landed her dream job as a Public Health Manager for the North Shore Health Department with a focus on Emergency Preparedness. Her role in this position led to her receiving the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Coordinator of the Year award from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Office of Preparedness and Emergency Health Care.

In November of 2014, Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a long battle consisting of 103 medical appointments, she and her medical team had eradicated the cancer from her body. Sadly, on what would have been near the five-year anniversary of being deemed free of cancer, it was discovered that she had developed a rare treatment-induced leukemia. After nearly a year of many ups and downs, she now rests peacefully knowing how much love and joy she brought to all of us who knew her.

Lori’s family is hosting a drive-through visitation this Saturday, October 24 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. at UWM at Waukesha. You can learn more about attending the visitation here.

Lori identified three charities that she would love for donations in her name to be made to: Metavivor, Team Phoenix, and the Zilber School of Public Health.

The Zilber School has established a scholarship fund in Lori’s honor. If you would like to donate to the Lori Ahrenhoerster Scholarship Fund, please contact Development Director Michele Weinschrott at 414-251-8064 or weinschr@uwm.edu.  Lori’s family will be notified that you have made a gift in her honor.

Peace and godspeed, Lori. We know that all who knew you will never forget you.