University at Buffalo Faculty Receives Herman Biggs Public Health Award

Published April 30, 2015

Donald W. Rowe, PhD, director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and faculty member in the department of community health and health behavior at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP), has been named the 2015 recipient of the Herman M. Biggs Public Health Award by the New York State (NYS) Public Health Association. The award is given annually to an individual who is recognized for their outstanding achievement in public health.

The award is named for Herman M. Biggs (1859-1923) who was an American pioneer in the field of public health and a dominant force in the New York City Department of Health for 26 years, championing the use public health control and enforcement measures in the fight against Tuberculosis. He was a strong supporter of the use of laboratory identification and control of sexually transmitted diseases. In 1914, he became the commissioner of health for NYS. In many ways his pioneering efforts set the stage for what was to become New York State’s public health system.

In a career spanning 40 years, Rowe is recognized for his longstanding contributions to tobacco control, emergency preparedness, community service, coalition building and rural health. As the director of the Office of Public Health Practice, his focus is on connecting the school with the practice community so that together they have an opportunity to improve the health of communities. Rowe brings his passion to the classroom where he teaches courses in Public Health Practice and Community Health Assessment and Surveillance.

Rowe also serves in the Governors appointed role as chair of the NYS Rural Health Council, president of the NYS Association for Rural Health, Board of Directors for the WNY Public Health Alliance, Inc. and the Rural Area Health Education Center. He also co-directs the Population Health Observatory in SPHHP.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Outstanding Leadership in Public Health from the NYS Public Health Association; Public Health Professional of the year from the NYS Association of County Health Officials; Community Health Network of Western New York leadership award; the Lake Plains Community Care Network service award; co-recipient of the program of the year award from the NYS Association for Rural Health; and two Dean’s Awards from SPHHP for community service and dedication to faculty and students.

“Public health is my passion. Where else do you have the opportunity to help both individuals and entire communities! I can’t imagine a more rewarding career.”

The University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions offers graduate degree level programs and is the home to five departments; biostatistics, exercise and nutrition sciences, community health and health behavior, rehabilitation science and epidemiology and environmental health. It is one of only a few schools across the country that includes health-related professions as an integral component of the public health educational and research system. The SPHHP is located on the South Campus of University at Buffalo in Kimball Tower.  For more information about the school, visit www.sphhp.buffalo.edu.