The Martha May Eliot Award

The award is named for Martha May Eliot (1891-1978), who is best known for her work – spanning four decades -- in the federal Children’s Bureau. From 1951 to 1956, she served as Chief of the Children’s Bureau.  In addition to her work with the Children’s Bureau, Dr. Eliot was the first woman to be elected president of the American Public Health Association (1947).  She also served as Chair of the Maternal and Child Health Department at the Harvard School of Public Health.  Her international activities included service as Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization from 1949 to 1951 and as the United States representative to the executive board of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 


The recipient of the Martha May Eliot Award is chosen each year by a committee of the American Public Health Association and is presented by the Association’s president at a luncheon at the Annual Meeting.


This award honors exceptional achievement in the field of maternal and child health; to bring such achievement to the eyes of related professional people and the public; to stimulate young people in the field to emulate the efforts resulting in such recognition; and to add within the profession and in the eyes of the public to the stature of professional workers in the field of maternal and child health.


2009 Award Winner:  Dr. Ruth Lawrence, Medical Director of the Institute of Human Lactation at the University of New York at Albany's School of Public Health


2010 Nomination form and criteria are available online at


For more information contact Deborah Dillard at (202) 777-2442 or email 


The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2010.