2013 APHA Distinguished Public Health Legislator Award

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg received APHA’s Distinguished Legislator of the Year. The award recognizes lawmakers who have championed and taken courageous actions to support public health.

In letter notifying Bloomberg of the award, APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, noted the association was “particularly grateful” for Bloomberg’s “ongoing commitment to strengthening federal laws to reduce gun violence.” He also recognized Bloomberg’s work on reducing tobacco use, preventing obesity and addressing the impacts of climate change.

Bloomberg signed legislation that prohibits smoking in such outdoor public spaces as parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas including Times Square. The new law took effect in 2011. He also has been a leader in the group Mayors Against Guns, a coalition of more than 500 mayors from cities and towns across the country who are committed to working together to share best practices, develop innovative policies and support national, state and local legislation that will help law enforcement agencies target illegal guns.

In the area of climate change, Bloomberg enacted a plan called PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York to fight global warming, protect the environment and prepare the city for the projected 1 million more inhabitants expected by the year 2030. He has been involved in spurring other cities to make changes and delivered the keynote address at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit.

Bloomberg graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School and in 1966 was hired by the Wall Street firm Solomon Brothers, where he rose through the ranks, overseeing equity trading and sales before heading the firm’s information systems. Bloomberg then launched his own company, Bloomberg LP, designed to use emerging technology to bring transparency and efficiency to the buyers and sellers of financial securities. The company now has about 13,000 employees worldwide.

Among his many charitable, cultural and educational contributions, he chaired the board at Johns Hopkins University and helped build the Bloomberg School of Public Health into one of the world’s leading institutions of public health research and training.

Bloomberg officially entered public life in 2001 by running for New York mayor. His commitment to public health is evident in the fact that life expectancy for city residents is three years longer than when he first took office. The teen smoking rate has dropped more than 50 percent, crime is down 35 percent and more than 600 acres of new parkland have been added within the city limits.