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APHA mourns the passing of past president, June Jackson Christmas

Date: Jan 22 2024

Contact: Media Relations

The American Public Health Association is deeply saddened by the loss of visionary leader, compassionate advocate, renowned psychiatrist and former APHA President, Dr. June Jackson Christmas. Dr. Christmas passed away on Dec. 31, 2023 at the age of 99.

“Dr. Christmas was a pioneer in mental health care and community psychiatric services,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director of APHA. “Her work to improve mental health services, particularly for marginalized communities, has impacted our organization and public health as a whole.”

Dr. Christmas’ illustrious career includes establishing the Harlem Hospital Rehabilitation Center, serving on President Jimmy Carter's transition team shaping health policies, working as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo's Advisory Committee on Black Affairs and as a trustee for Vassar College. She also served as the vice-president of the American Psychiatric Association, the president of the Public Health Association of New York City and, in 1980, she was the first female Black president of the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Christmas' tireless advocacy and commitment to improving mental health services for underserved communities has left an enduring legacy in the field of public health. She will be missed by the entire community.


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