Frontline Blog

BCHC members included in “40 under 40 in Public Health”

May 2019


This week, the de Beaumont Foundation released the first list of “40 Under 40 in Public Health” to showcase the leadership, creativity, and innovation of rising stars who are improving communities across the country. Representing government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses, these professionals are tackling issues like obesity, opioids, disease prevention, HIV, health equity, and more. We were delighted to see The Big Cities Health Coalition well represented, with eight honorees working for BCHC member health departments.

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Megan Cunningham, Managing Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health

Megan brings partners together to drive policy change and improve environments to help all Chicagoans lead healthy lives.  Working with other departments, she helps ensure city initiatives and investments promote the health of residents and neighborhoods.

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Jeffrey Hom, Policy Advisor, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Jeffrey has contributed to health care and public health efforts in San Francisco, Boston and Shipock, N.M., as well as internationally.  His current focus is on substance abuse, particularly issues around access to treatment and harm reduction, and created the Kensington Initiative for Needle Disposal which cleans up littered drug paraphernalia and distributes naloxone.

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Sami Jarrah, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Health Commissioner

As Chief Operating Officer since 2016, Sami leads the agency’s finance, budget, contracts, grants, state and federal policy, and information technology functions.  He developed a plan for increasing Medicaid revenue, which when complete, will enable the Health Department to tackle new work on gun policy, asthma prevention, maternal and child health interventions, safety net health care services and more.

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Jesse Lava, Director of Policy, Chicago Department of Public Health

Jesse creates laws and other initiatives to improve residents’ health in areas such as tobacco, heroin and environmental justice.  He led the creation of a vaping tax to deter youth addiction, working to find a policy solution that would successfully target young people and lower addiction rates.

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Mac McCullough, Health Economist, Maricopa County

As both health economist for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and assistant professor in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, Mac applies rigorous scientific methodologies to develop and disseminate evidence into practice. He is leading a deep-dive analysis of public health and social service spending and assessing ways in which tax dollars can be best used to improve the health of Houstonians

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Megan McClaire, Chief of Staff, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Megan oversees the Center of Health Equity and Office of Planning, a program rooted in community engagement and cross-sector collaboration to address health equity issues impacting county residents.  She also directs implementation efforts for policy priority initiatives

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Kenneth Steel, Health Policy Analyst, Maricopa County Department of Public Health

Kenneth has helped to strengthen the culture and practice of policy, systems and environmental approaches throughout the department.  As co-chair of the Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities, he ensures that dozens of diverse members work together to advocate for health and equity in policy and planning initiatives.

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Elizabeth Walsh, Public Health Statistician, City of Kansas City, Mo. Health Department

Elizabeth has transformed the department’s statistics communications, making data more accessible to the community.  This has helped to elevate the role of public health through increased recognition, credibility and buy-in from stakeholders.  She created a newsletter that sparked new conversations in communities about public health, and has worked to ensure data is being used to engage the public like never before.

Congratulations to these eight, and to all who were included in the inaugural “40 under 40 in Public Health”. Find out more about about each honoree here.