A UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty member has been honored with the State of California’s highest award for public service in the discipline, the Beverlee A. Myers Award for Excellence in Public Health.
Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences and a faculty associate with the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions, was recognized April 22 in a virtual event hosted by the California Department of Public Health whose honorees “represent the best in public health work in California.”
“Dr. Jackson’s work and dedication (is) known worldwide; he is a pediatrician, a professor, and an international public health leader,” said Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, director and state public health officer. “He brought healing not only to individuals, but to communities, and to the environment … he knows that when policy makers ignore science, children pay the price.”
Jackson, who started with the state health agency in 1979, served as California state public health officer, and was instrumental in creating the new California Department of Public Health in 2007. He knew Beverlee A. Myers, the first woman and non-physician ever to head the California Department of Health Services (1978-83) and a UCLA faculty member after her state service.
“Bev was an excellent director, and I greatly admired her,” Jackson said. “My first job was in a small unit that focused on pesticides, (and) pesticides in ground water opened the door for us to push for major reforms in the state drinking water laws.”
Jackson’s award for 2020 was delayed because of the pandemic; also delayed were the 2021 Myers Award, which recognizes California’s local public health directors and public health officers. The 2022 recipient of the Award is Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics with the UCSF School of Medicine.
Past recipients of the Myers Award include Dr. Wendelin Slusser, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, in 2008, and Dr. Jonathan Fielding, UCLA FSPH distinguished professor of health policy and management, in 2007. In 2001, a joint award went to the late Professor Emerita Ruth Roemer and Dr. Milton Roemer, professor emeritus of the Fielding School’s Department of Health Services.