Abt's Walker Receives APHA's Lifetime Achievement Award for Maternal and Child Health

Award Recognizes Walker's More Than 40 years of Leadership

Oct 29, 2012, 15:00 ET from Abt Associates

BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Abt Associates Vice President and Senior Fellow Deborah Klein Walker has won the American Public Health Association's prestigious Martha May Eliot Award, which recognizes extraordinary leadership, advocacy, teaching and research in maternal and child health.

"Deborah's contributions during her exemplary career exemplify the spirit of this award — uncommon impact and leadership in the field, coaching young people, and improving the lives of some of the most vulnerable populations," said Scott Royal, vice president of Abt's U.S. Health division. "She is a highly regarded thought leader and a superb mentor for both her peers and junior colleagues at Abt."

Walker, who leads the Public Health and Epidemiology Practice in Abt's U.S. Health division, is a public health leader and behavioral science researcher with more than 40 years of experience developing and implementing programs and system change, research, evaluation, policy analysis and consulting on a broad range of public policy issues.

She served for 15 years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, spending her last four years there as Associate Commissioner for Programs and Prevention, where she was responsible for all programs in maternal and child health, health promotion, and disease prevention, including working on a highly successful tobacco control program. Her duties also included community health programs, such as prevention of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, as well as programs for minority health, data integration, and information systems.

Prior to state service, Dr. Walker served on the Harvard University faculty for more than a decade as an Associate Professor of Human Development at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

"I'm honored to join such a long and distinguished list of recipients of this award," Walker said. "I've dedicated my life to advocating for better health for mothers, children, and the public at large. The U.S. health system can boast many achievements, but we still lag behind some developing countries on important measurements, such as infant mortality."

Walker is a former president of the American Public Health Association and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, a founder of New England SERVE, and founding member of the Research Consortium on Children with Chronic Conditions. She is the author of three books and more than 100 policy and research articles on a wide range of issues including child and family policy, program implementation, public health practice and disability policy.

The American Public Health Association has given the Martha May Eliot Award annually since 1964. The award commemorates the late Dr. Martha May Eliot, who was a moving force in maternal and child health programs. Dr. Eliot served as Chief of Children's Bureau, Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human Services) before her retirement in 1956.

Walker was honored with the award during the American Public Health Association's Annual meeting, held Oct. 27-31.

About Abt Associates

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates was ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms in 2012 and also named one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in nearly 40 countries. www.abtassociates.com

SOURCE Abt Associates