ASTHO honors Devlin for leadership and contributions to public health

September 18, 2012
Leah M. Devlin, DDS, MPH, Gillings Professor of the Practice of health policy and management at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, accepted the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) 2012 Alumni Award on Sept. 13 at the association’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Leah Devlin (center) accepts award from ASTHO president Jose Montero (left) and Mary Mincer Hansen, president of the organization's alumni society.

Dr. Leah Devlin (center) accepts award from ASTHO president Jose Montero (left) and Mary Mincer Hansen, president of the organization’s alumni society.

The award is presented annually to recognize a former state health official who has demonstrated continued commitment to public health.

“Leah has been a tremendous leader of ASTHO throughout her years as a state health official,” said ASTHO executive director Paul E. Jarris, MD, MBA. “She has freely shared the public health innovations of North Carolina with her colleagues across the country, and has been an important contributor to the formation of the Public Health Accreditation Board and numerous other innovations in public health.”
Among Devlin’s contributions in North Carolina was her service as N.C. State Health Director from 2001 to 2009. Under her leadership, the state successfully handled outbreaks of new and emerging infectious diseases (including E. coli, SARS and West Nile virus), reduced infant mortality rates and strengthened school health services.
Devlin’s ability throughout her career to bring together diverse groups for the common good has certainly not gone unnoticed. She was selected for ASTHO’s award based on nominations received from peers in North Carolina and nationally.
“Leah is deeply knowledgeable about public health problems and evidence-based solutions, and she’s especially effective in the way she connects people,” said Julie MacMillan, MPH, managing director of the School’s Research and Innovation Solutions office. “People respect Leah’s integrity and firepower, and she is a marvelous ambassador in the community.”
Devlin joined the School in 2009 as a Gillings Visiting Professor, a position funded through Research and Innovation Solutions. A native of Buies Creek, N.C., Devlin has championed and improved the health of her fellow North Carolinians for more than 25 years. She received her dental degree and master’s degree in public health administration at UNC. In 2008, she received UNC’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
“I am honored by this award and thankful to the School for affording me a wonderful opportunity to continue to work on critical public health issues with public health officials at the state and local levels and with our partners in foundations and the business community,” Devlin said.
ASTHO is a nonprofit public health organization that represents the leaders of state and territorial health agencies. Devlin served two terms as the association’s president.


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Linda Kastleman, communications editor, (919) 966-8317 or