ST. LOUIS, Nov. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saint Louis University announces that its first endowed chair in its School of Public Health will be named after James R. Kimmey, M.D., MPH, the outgoing president and chief executive officer at Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). A generous gift to SLU from MFH helped establish the James R. Kimmey Endowed Chair in Public Health.
Kimmey is the first president and chief executive officer of MFH and had been executive vice president and vice president for health sciences at SLU. The surprise announcement was made on Nov. 17, as business associates, friends and family gathered to honor Kimmey and celebrate his retirement from MFH, an organization he led since its inception.
Kimmey served in various leadership roles during his 14-year tenure at SLU. Among them, he was the founding dean of SLU's School of Public Health, which remains the only school of public health in Missouri and at a Jesuit university. Kimmey left SLU in 2001 to lead the newly formed MFH.
"Jim's vision has guided lasting improvements in health care in the state and made a significant impact on education at SLU," said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "Jim's passion for public health and commitment to improving the health of Missourians -- particularly those in need -- will forever be linked to our work in our School of Public Health. It is appropriate that the School's first endowed chair bears Jim's name, and it is a fitting legacy for an impressive visionary."
Biondi added that one of the most important reinvestments in higher education, an endowed chair, is a hallmark of excellence and helps a University recruit and retain distinguished scholars.
"I am very touched by the establishment of a chair at SLU in my honor," Kimmey said. "Public health is a critical component in any community's quality of life and has been important to me throughout my career.
"I'm pleased to have been part of the founding of SLU's School of Public Health. It is important that this school's outstanding faculty and students continue to be part of the community discourse to improve public health, which impacts us all, regardless of our socio-economic status and where we live in the community."
Kimmey has shown a commitment to public health throughout his career, which has spanned nearly 50 years.
In 1963, shortly after completing his medical residency, he joined the U.S. Public Health Service and served as the first chief of the Federal Kidney Disease Branch, guiding federal efforts to establish the effectiveness of chronic hemodialysis as a clinical tool. After receiving his MPH in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley, he served as the regional health director for the Public Health Service in New York City.
He left federal service in 1968 to become the founding executive director of Community Health, Inc., a national planning assistance program sponsored by the American Public Health Association and the National Health Council. In 1970, Kimmey became executive director of the American Public Health Association, a 50,000-member professional organization of public health workers.
Kimmey served as Wisconsin's Secretary of the Health Policy Council and director of the Division of Health Policy and Planning from 1973 to 1976. He established the Midwest Center for Health Planning, a non-profit technical assistance and educational organization based in Madison, Wisc., which he guided through 1987.
Kimmey joined SLU in 1987 and held a number of senior positions. He was director of the University's Center for Health Services Education and Research from 1987-1991; founding dean of its School of Public Health from 1991-1993; vice president for health sciences and chief executive officer of the Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center from 1993-1998; executive vice president and chief operating officer of the University from 1998-2000; and director of the Institute for Urban Health Policy from 2000-2001. He was appointed professor emeritus of public health in 2001.
Kimmey has held many leadership positions on boards for non-profit and professional organizations. Among these are: president of the World Federation of Public Health Associations; president of the American Health Planning Association; chair of the Community Health Planning Section of APHA; chair of the Task Force on Accreditation for the Health Professions; chair of St. Louis ConnectCare, a safety net provider; president of the Metropolitan St. Louis Hospital Council; president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Missouri Public Health Association; and chair of the Gateway Center for Giving.
He currently serves on the board of St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association. He was on the board and served as chair of Grantmakers in Health, the national association for health focused foundations.
Among his awards and honors are: Public Health Service Commendation Medal (1968); APHA/AHPA Richard H. Schlesinger Award for Achievement in Health Planning (1978); Alpha Sigma Nu, Saint Louis University (1993); James R. Kimmey Award for Excellence in Health Planning, APHA (1994); Archbishop John May Award for Health Leadership, Archdiocese of St. Louis (2002); CORO St. Louis Community Leadership Award (2010); and Leonard and Cecelia Doaks Award - Health Literacy Hero, Health Literacy Missouri (2010); Lifetime Achievement Award, Doorways (2011); Kathy Curtis Legacy Award, Missouri Community Mental Health Centers (2011); Award of Merit, St. Louis Urban League (2011); and James R. Kimmey Lifetime Achievement Award, Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance (2011).
Kimmey received his Bachelor's and medical degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
Accredited since 1991, Saint Louis University School of Public Health is the only accredited school of public health in Missouri. It is one of 47 fully accredited public health schools in the U.S. and the only accredited Jesuit or Catholic school in the nation.
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SOURCE Saint Louis University Medical Center