Dick Jackson

Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health

A pediatrician and public health leader, his prior academic appointments were at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was recognized as the Distinguished Teacher and Mentor of the Year. He served in many leadership positions in both environmental health and infectious disease with the California Health Department, including as state health officer. For nine years he was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta and for this work received the Presidential Distinguished Service award at the White House. His work led to the establishment of the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and state and national laws that reduced risks from dangerous pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he established the national asthma epidemiology and control program, and advanced the childhood lead poisoning prevention program. He instituted the current federal effort to “bio-monitor” chemical levels in the U.S. population. He was the lead under several U.S. government efforts around health and environment in Russia, including radiation threats. In the late 1990s he was the CDC leader in establishing the U.S. National Pharmaceutical Stockpile to prepare for terrorism and other disasters, which was activated on September 11, 2001. He has received the Breast Cancer Fund’s Hero Award, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Public Health Law Association, and the New Partners for Smart Growth. Dick Jackson lectures and speaks on many issues, particularly those related to built environment and health. He co-authored “Urban Sprawl and Public Health,” a 2004 book from Island Press, and is working on an update of that book to be published in 2011 and will host a PBS special on the same topic. He has served on many environmental and health boards, as well as the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects.