APHA celebrates life and legacy of Bailus Walker

Date: Apr 16 2020

Contact: APHA Media Relations

Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD

Washington, D.C., April 16, 2020 – “We are saddened about the passing of our colleague and friend Bailus Walker, Jr., PhD, MPH, a true public health champion. He served the American Public Health Association in countless ways, among those as president in 1988 and as a longtime member of the Environment Section. He was a founding member of the Association’s first official caucus, the Black Caucus of Health Workers, which has an enduring mission to strive for the elimination of disparities and the reduction of gaps in health and health outcomes by improving the quality of life of people of African descent through knowledge, advocacy, practice and research.

"Dr. Walker’s long and distinguished public health career included serving as commissioner of public health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Michigan’s director of public health, director of the Occupational Health Standards Division of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, senior science advisor to the National Library of Medicine, dean of the public health faculty for the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, professor of environmental health at the State University of New York in Albany’s school of public health and professor of environmental and occupational medicine and toxicology at the Howard University College of Medicine.

"Among his many honors, Dr. Walker was a distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, a distinguished Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, where he served on many commissions and committees, including the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology and chaired the Committee on Toxicology. His many awards and honors include the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the school’s Environmental Health Sciences Award.

"On behalf of APHA, we honor Dr. Walker’s important and considerable contributions to the health of us all.”


The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.