American Public Health Association announces 2018 award recipients

Date: Oct 10 2018

Contact: David Fouse, 202-777-2501

Washington, D.C., October 10, 2018 – The American Public Health Association today announced the 2018 recipients of its prestigious national awards recognizing individuals for leadership, innovation and excellence in the field. The awards will be presented Nov. 13 during APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo in San Diego.

"We celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of our 2018 award winners," said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. "Their work has inspired others and made a lasting difference in the lives of so many. We honor their extraordinary commitment and contributions to public health."

APHA’s 2018 award recipients are:

  • Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH, Penn Integrates Knowledge university professor of population health and health equity, University of Pennsylvania, is receiving the Sedgwick Memorial Medal for distinguished service in public health for her efforts to create a culture of health that serves as the foundation for evidence-based public health knowledge and quality public heath practice benefiting all.
  • Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH, George H. Gardner professor of clinical gynecology, vice chair for clinical research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and professor of preventive medicine and medical social sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is receiving the APHA Award for Excellence for work as an educator, creating a pipeline of diverse researchers in the area of cancer; in community engagements that address women’s health issues across race, ethnicity and nationality; and as a physician scientist.
  • Emily Benfer, JD, LLM, visiting associate clinical professor of law, Columbia Law School, is being honored with the David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health for helping prevent lead poisoning in children, particularly those who live in federally assisted housing.
  • Irina Gelman, DPM, MPH, commissioner of health, Orange County Health Department in New York, is being honored with the Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Local Public Health Work for initiating a telehealth program that serves as a pilot for a larger scale effort to improve access to care, prevent disease and reduce health risks among the county’s rural residents.
  • Ellen Marshall, partner, Good Works Group LLC, is being honored with the Helen Rodríguez-Trías Social Justice Award for helping successfully implement the Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy and her work with local and national government agencies to educate and persuade power brokers to approve policies and funding needed to sustain the initiative.
  • Amy Hagopian, PhD, MHA, associate professor, University of Washington School of Public Health, is receiving the Victor Sidel and Barry Levy Award for Peace for her enduring passion for advocacy, for her leadership and for mentoring colleagues and students around the prevention of war and the promotion of peace around the world.
  • Magda G. Peck, ScD, ScM, PA, founder and principal, MP3 Health Group, is receiving the Martha May Eliot Award for a lifetime of service to improving child and maternal health and exceptionally creative approaches to education, training, public health policy and management dedicated to the health and well-being of others.
  • Carlos E. Rodriguez-Diaz, PhD, MPHE, MCHES, associate professor and director, Community-Oriented Primary Care Program, Department of Prevention and Community Health, the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, is being honored with the Lyndon Haviland Public Health Mentoring Award for his dedication to the field of public health and to the professional development of his mentee’s careers, and for his commitment to ensuring a diverse public health workforce.
  • America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia is being honored with the APHA Presidential Citation for supporting the health and well-being of diverse and vulnerable Americans in urban and rural Georgia communities.
  • Terri D. Wright, PhD, MPH, vice president for program and community, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, is being honored with the APHA Executive Director Citation for her extraordinary support of the Association and helping strengthen APHA infrastructure and strategic direction.

Learn more about APHA awards.


APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Learn more at