UWM Dean Magda Peck receives national award in public health


By Kathy Quirk
UWM News
September 15, 2014

Magda Peck, founding dean of UWM’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, received the 2014 National Excellence in Public Health Award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO).

ASTHO officials presented the award Sept. 11 in Albuquerque, N.M., as part of the organization’s annual recognition of public health heroes

The National Excellence in Public Health Award recognizes outstanding service on behalf of the public health community on the national and state level, according to the ASTHO announcement.

“You have been an advocate for urban public health and the need for active community engagement in advancing the health of all members of the community,” the award announcement said of Peck’s work with UWM’s Zilber School.

“This extraordinary honor affirms my life’s work to champion women and children’s well-being in every community, and prepare a new generation of great leaders for the public’s health,” Peck said.

In addition to her work at UWM’s Zilber School, Peck is the founder and former CEO of CityMatCH, the national organization representing maternal and child health leaders in America’s cities. While at CityMatCH, according to ASTHO, “Peck fostered the concept of practice-based research among urban public health practitioners and helped change the character of the relationship between federal, state and local public health agencies.”

Peck was the founding director of the University of Nebraska’s first graduate program in public health and was a driving force for its new College of Public Health. She also founded the regional Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute and is recognized for innovation in leadership development.

Peck became dean of the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at UWM in March 2012. Her work focuses on bridging the gap between academic research, practice, and policy, with an emphasis on the health and well-being of women and children, fathers and families.

ASTHO represents public health agencies in the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia, and more than 100,000 public health professionals. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, formulate and influence sound public health policy and ensure excellence in state-based public health practice.

Also among those honored was Ellen Gabler, an investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award for her series, “Deadly Delays” on flaws in infant screening systems around the country.

“The winners of the 2014 ASTHO public health heroes awards demonstrate the great diversity of skills that contributes to improving the nation’s health,” said Paul Jarris, executive director of ASTHO.