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University of Iowa News Release

April 20, 2006

Atchison Named Recipient Of Public Health Award For Community Engagement

Christopher G. Atchison, clinical professor of health management and policy, has been selected to receive the University of Iowa College of Public Health's award for faculty achievement in community engagement.

The award, conferred annually by the College of Public Health's Board of Advisors, recognizes a faculty member for application of theory, research and practice to address public health challenges at the community level.

"Chris Atchison has made a career of providing extraordinary service to communities across Iowa and beyond," said Stephen Ummel, chair of the College of Public Health's Board of Advisors and chair of the selection committee. "His efforts over many years to engage and transform diverse communities in the pursuit of better health makes him a particularly worthy recipient of this award."

As the College of Public Health's associate dean for public health practice, Atchison oversees numerous public health practice outreach and training activities and leads collegiate interactions with the public health practice community throughout Iowa, the Midwest and the United States. He is also the director of two collegiate centers which support public health workforce development -- the Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Upper Midwest Public Health Training Center, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In addition, Atchison chairs a UI pandemic preparedness task force, which is currently assessing the institution's preparedness and will recommend a plan for response in the event of an influenza pandemic.

Atchison has provided leadership to many organizations at the state and regional levels, including current service as chair of the State of Iowa's Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council as well as the board of directors for the not-for-profit, Des Moines-based Child and Family Policy Council. Nationally, he is the national program director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's State Health Leadership Initiative and on the governing boards of the Community Campus Partnerships for Health and the National Academy for State Health Policy. He is the current chair of HRSA's National Public Health Training Center Network.

Prior to joining the College of Public Health faculty in 1999, Atchison served eight years as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. He won widespread praise for leading the health department's response to the devastating floods that swept over Iowa in 1993. During that time, Atchison also served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and as chair of the Public Health Leadership Society.

In his nominating letter, Barry Greene, Ph.D., professor and interim head of health management and policy, described Atchison as an effective leader who sees the potential of reaching out to a wide range of communities.

"Chris Atchison is a contributor," Greene wrote. "He pays very little attention to what he gains personally as he goes about his work. By devoting his life to public service, including his current work at the University of Iowa, Chris has given of himself in order to continuously strive toward improving the health and welfare of those in Iowa as well as across the country."

In a supporting letter, Lawrence Gostin, professor of law at Georgetown University, called Atchison "one of the leading figures in public health policy and practice in America." Gostin further commented, "As our nation is facing modern threats to health and safety from emerging infectious diseases, bioterrorism, and chronic disease, we need people like Mr. Atchison to help build the public health infrastructure and ensure our preparedness."

The 2006 award for Faculty Achievement in Community Engagement was announced at the College of Public Health Board of Advisors meeting Tuesday, April 18.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health, Office of Communications, 4261 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835,

PHOTO: A photograph of Christopher Atchison is available on the College of Public Health Web site at