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No. 4, 2010

Lee Reichman, MD, MPH, 2010 Honorary PHA

The Watsonian Society is the official organization of current and former Public Health Advisors (PHAs). The group is named for William C. Watson, Jr., an early and effective member of and advocate for the PHA program; CDC’s prestigious William C. Watson, Jr., Medal of Excellence is also named for Mr. Watson.

Each year, the members of the Watsonian Society nominate and select outstanding public health professionals who are not PHAs, but who are deemed to be such valuable partners to PHAs that they are worthy to be called Honorary PHAs. In 2010, the Watsonian Society nominated and selected Dr. Lee Reichman, among other distinguished individuals, for this honor. As in previous years, the Watsonian Society honored the awardees at its annual banquet on October 1, 2010, in Atlanta. Following is the text of the nomination:

“It is fitting and appropriate for Public Health Advisors (PHAs) to honor global and national leaders who have supported our PHA colleagues, and the PHA series, in a lifetime of public health work. Lee B. Reichman, MD, MPH, is a long-time and globally recognized tuberculosis (TB) medical and public health leader. He has served in key leadership positions in TB control and prevention for almost 40 years in the New York City Health Department (Director, Bureau of TB Control), and later in the University of Medicine and Dentistry of the New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ) in Newark, NJ. He is currently the Executive Director (and founder) of the UMDNJ Global TB Institute (previously the UMDNJ National TB Center).

“Dr. Reichman has worked with and supported numerous PHAs in the New York City Department of Health, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and the UMDNJ National TB Center/Global TB Institute, and at CDC while serving on various committees, research projects, and grant-related activities. Early on and consistently, he utilized and supported the activities, leadership abilities, and roles of his PHA colleagues. Some examples would be in his dealings with them (consultation, training, and advice) as well as recognizing their accomplishments in his books (e.g., Timebomb) as well as his presentation of “TB Icon” awards to two of our fellow PHAs.

Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director (right), congratulates Dr. Reichman on his Honorary PHA award.

“Dr. Reichman graduated from Oberlin College, received his MD degree from New York University, and received an MPH degree from Johns Hopkins University. He is widely published in professional journals, is a longtime member of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (past vice-Chair of the Executive Committee), Stop TB USA (former Chair), and the American Thoracic Society (honorary lifetime member). He has received numerous awards, written over 200 original journal articles and books, collaborated with CDC and other agencies in approximately 70 research projects, and has been on several key task forces and advisory committees for the New Jersey Department of Health and CDC.

“Early in his position at the New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Reichman identified the need for Centers of TB Excellence to guide U.S. health departments and providers in the reduction of TB through enhanced education, training, and research activities. This concept was a forerunner of the CDC-funded National TB Centers. Dr. Reichman also was concerned about global TB and the need to ‘defuse the ticking bomb of MDR TB throughout the world.’ To that end, his National TB Center began formalized training of government and public health officials, nurses, physicians, and outreach workers from other countries.

“He has served as President of the American Lung Association. He has been detailed to the Global WHO Stop TB Partnership and was a charter member of their Advocacy Advisory Committee. He also serves as the American College of Chest Physician’s representative to CDC’s national Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis.

“Through all of these achievements and efforts, Dr. Reichman established a well-deserved reputation among our PHA colleagues for never missing an opportunity to support and promote the concept of PHAs in his discussions and advocacy with local, state, and national policymakers and leaders. We, his colleagues, appreciate and recognize his public health accomplishments and his consistent support of individual PHAs and the PHA series as a whole.

“We … would like to honor Lee B. Reichman, MD, MPH, for his outstanding public health accomplishments and for his consistent local, national, and global support and promotion of individual PHAs and the PHA series by nominating him to be a Watsonian ‘Honorary Public Health Advisor’.”

In addition, we include a poem composed by Chris Hayden for Dr. Reichman’s birthday. Chris, also a PHA, is well qualified to write prose as well as poetry about Dr. Reichman; after retiring from CDC/DTBE as chief of the Communications and Education Branch, he served for 10 years as a senior staff member of the Global Tuberculosis Institute, of which Dr. Reichman is Executive Director.

The King’s Touch
(On the Occasion of Lee’s 70th Birthday)
I think that we shall never see
A monarch with more pizzazz than Lee

Whose wisdom is often laced with fire
To purge the dross and lead us higher

Whose substantive sound bites cut to the chase
Lo, bureaucrats squirm when he’s in their face

And when apathy loomed he visaged to seize
Upon the Timebomb of this sexless disease

He got our attention a year ago
When aortic acrobatics laid him low

But he defied the Reaper’s charms
To hold his grandchild in his arms

And now the feisty curmudgeon’s back
The monarch’s all heart; he’s on the attack

And he ain’t goin’ “gentle into that good night”
For he’ll “rave and rage” ‘till he sets things right

Yes, he’ll “rave and rage” with a touch of class
And the King’s touch blesses us all alas.

Congratulations to Dr. Reichman for the richly deserved honor of being selected as an Honorary Public Health Advisor!

—Contributed by staff of the Watsonian Society,
the Global Tuberculosis Institute, and
the Div of TB Elimination


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