Monday General Session

State of Public Health: Where Do We Go Next?

Monday, Oct. 25, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how years of underinvestment and disinvestment in the public health infrastructure has crippled our ability to address emerging health threats. This session will:

  • explore creating a system that can identify whenever a new or reemerging health threat enters the community and have the capacity in place to address it.
  • showcase how both governmental and nongovernmental entities can best serve communities to ensure an equitable and healthier nation.

William FoegeWilliam H. Foege

William H. Foege, MD, MPH, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an epidemiologist who worked in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s.

Among his many roles, Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, a working group for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Its success in accelerating childhood immunization led to an expansion of its mandate in 1991 to include other issues that diminish the quality of life for children. He served the Carter Center as its Executive Director, Fellow for Health Policy and Executive Director of Global 2000 and then Executive Director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development. He was Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and a Senior Medical Advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He remains active in both organizations as Emeritus Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health and as a Gates Fellow.

The recipient of many awards, Foege holds honorary degrees from numerous institutions, and was named a Fellow of the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1997. He is the author of more than 125 professional publications. He attended Pacific Lutheran University, received his medical degree from the University of Washington, and his Master of Public Health from Harvard University.

Nirav ShahNirav Shah

In June 2019, Nirav Shah, MD, JD, was appointed as the Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). Dr. Shah comes to the Maine CDC with broad experience in public health, most recently as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, where he implemented key initiatives to address the State's opioid crisis, reduce maternal and infant mortality, and reduce childhood lead poisoning.

As an attorney and public health economist, Shah previously advised professionals and governments around the nation and globe on improving the delivery of health care. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Ministry of Health in Cambodia, where his work included investigating and managing disease outbreaks as an epidemiologist. Shah received both medical and law degrees from the University of Chicago. He also studied economics at Oxford University.

Lisa Macon HarrisonLisa Macon Harrison

Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, was elected to the NACCHO 2020-2021 Board of Directors as Vice President in June 2020. NACCHO is the voice of the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. Harrison assumed the Vice President role on July 1, 2020. She is currently serving as the president-elect until 2022 and will serve as president from 2022-2023.

Harrison has been the director of the Granville Vance District Health Department in North Carolina since 2012. Her previous roles in North Carolina public health thread through research, practice, advocacy, and policy development. She has been a member of the public health field for over 23 years and has served as director of the Office of Healthy Carolinians and Health Education at the North Carolina Division of Public Health; led the Public Health Incubator Collaboratives Program at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and directed the Southeast Public Health Leadership Institute (SEPHLI) at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health where she continues to stay connected as adjunct faculty in the Public Health Leadership Program. In 2015, Harrison served as the North Carolina Public Health Association president where she continues to stay involved connecting public health research and practice.

As a local health director in a rural district, she enjoys advocating for rural public health and provides mentorship for students interested in public health and rural health. Although a true Tar Heel by birth (in Chapel Hill, NC) and by training (UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health), she is also happy to serve as a consulting associate at Duke University School of Nursing where she hosts national clinical scholars making rotations across NC health system opportunities at Granville Vance Public Health.

Nadine GraciaNadine Gracia

Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE is President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public health policy, research and advocacy organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community and makes the prevention of illness and injury a national priority. A national health equity leader, she previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rochelle WalenskyRochelle P. Walensky

Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, is the 19th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ninth administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. An influential scholar whose pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS, she is also a well-respected expert on the value of testing and treatment of deadly viruses.

Walensky served as Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2017-2020 and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012-2020. She served on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic and conducted research on vaccine delivery and strategies to reach underserved communities.

Walensky is recognized internationally for her work to improve HIV screening and care in South Africa and nationally recognized for motivating health policy and informing clinical trial design and evaluation in a variety of settings. She is a past Chair of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council at the National Institutes of Health, Chair-elect of the HIV Medical Association, and previously served as an advisor to both the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

Originally from Maryland, Walensky received her Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, her Doctor of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and her Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.


David SatcherCDC Foundation Fries Awards For Health

Awarded at the APHA Annual Meeting by the James E. and Sarah T. Fries Foundation. The prize honors individuals whose achievements have made the greatest contributions to public health. This year's award will be presented by CDC Foundation President and CEO, Dr. Judy Monroe and Board Member Greg Fries.

2021 Recipient
—David Satcher

Learn more about the Fries Awards for Health.