15th Spring Awards Breakfast Honorees

This June, join us and more than 300 friends and partners in public health for a special celebration, as we honor five visionary leaders advancing health equity here in the Commonwealth.

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2017 Spring Awards Breakfast Honorees

Paul Revere Award: Deborah Klein Walker, EdD

Dr. Deborah Klein Walker, EdD, recently retired from serving as Vice President and Senior Fellow at Abt Associates, is a behavioral science researcher, public health leader, and advocate for public health and social justice. She has more than 40 years of experience developing and implementing programs and system change, developing and implementing policy at the local and state levels, and conducting research and evaluation in community settings. Prior to Abt Associates, Dr. Walker spent 16 years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she was the Maternal and Child Health Title V Director, Acting Director for Substance Abuse Services, Assistant Commissioner for Family and Community Health, and Associate Commissioner for Programs and Prevention. Prior to state service, she was a faculty member for over a decade at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

She currently is the President of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (formerly, the American Orthopsychiatric Association); a Board Member of Family Voices, the Institute for Community Health and the Cambridge Health Alliance Foundation; an editor for the Maternal and Child Health Journal; and an Adjunct Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health. She is a former president of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs; a founder of New England SERVE (an organization committed to quality services for children with special health care needs and their families); a founding member of the Research Consortium on Children with Chronic Conditions; a former Board Member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies; a former Trustee of the Cambridge Health Alliance and chair of its Cambridge Health Department subcommittee. She is currently on the Governing Council (representing the American Public Health Association) of the World Federation of Public Health Associations.

Dr. Walker is the author of over 100 peer reviewed articles, 3 books and numerous commentaries. She has been honored by organizations representing maternal and child health, disabilities and at-risk populations. For example, she is a recipient of the APHA Martha May Eliot Award, the HRSA Vince L. Hutchins Partnership Award, and the Federation for Children with Special Needs Martha Ziegler Leadership Award, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health. She earned a BA in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an EdD in Human Development from Harvard University. She is active on twitter: @DKWpublichealth.

Lemuel Shattuck Award
Shani Dowd, BA, LHD(hc), LCSW

Dr. Shani Dowd, B.A., LHD(hc), L.C.S.W. currently serves as Director of Culture InSight, an operating program of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, the charitable foundation of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc., a nationally recognized health plan. Ms. Dowd is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. She is a member of the faculty of the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology at Boston University. Ms. Dowd is a frequent presenter at major teaching conferences and a sought after consultant. Ms. Dowd is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fields, Walters & Hannagan Charitable Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of William James College (formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology). She is a recipient of the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, in acknowledgement of her work to bring quality mental health care to diverse communities.

She confesses to a lively curiosity and a constant willingness to apologize for mistakes that she is about to make.


Alfred Frechette Award
Jen Slonaker, B.A., M.S.W

Jen Slonaker is the Vice President of Education and Training at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM), where she oversees the delivery of high-quality, comprehensive sex education and information to 10,000 parents, youth, and professionals across Massachusetts annually, as well as the Internal Training program for the organization. During her time at PPLM, the department authored a middle and high school curriculum, Get Real: Sex Education That Works, which is the first evidence-based program to incorporate social-emotional-learning into sex education, and is in use in 30 states, reaching over 200,000 young people a year.

Public Health Leadership in Medicine Award
Matt Sadof, MD & Megan Sandel, MD MPH


Dr. Matt Sadof currently serves as chair of the Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition. Since 1998, Dr. Sadof has worked to develop sustainable systems of care and further medical education for medically and socially fragile children at Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, MA. This work helped to create an asthma community health worker program for children. Currently this effort is part of the Green Healthy Homes Social Investment Bond Initiative to create a regional center of excellence for asthma community health workers for seniors and children. Dr. Sadof also serves as an Associate Professor in Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate.


Dr. Megan Sandel, MD MPH, is the Associate Director of the GROW clinic at Boston Medical Center, a Principal Investigator with Children’s Health Watch and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

She is the former pediatric medical director of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless program, and is a nationally recognized expert on housing and child health. In 1998, she published with other doctors at Boston Medical Center, the DOC4Kids report, a national report on how housing affected child health, the first of its kind, and over the course of her career, Dr. Sandel has written numerous peer reviewed scientific articles and papers on this subject. In 2001, she became the first medical director of the founding site for medical-legal partnerships, Medical-Legal Partnership-Boston, and from 2007-2016 she served as the Medical Director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership.

She has served as a Principal Investigator for numerous NIH, HUD and foundation grants, working with the Boston Public Health Commission and Massachusetts Department of Public Health to improve the health of vulnerable children, particularly with asthma. She has served on many national boards, including Enterprise Community Partners, and national advisory committees at American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC Advisory Committee for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention.