Prior to this appointment, Dr. Healton joined the staff of Legacy, the foundation created by the Master Settlement Agreement between the States Attorneys General and the tobacco industry as the first President and chief executive officer. In this role she worked to further the foundation’s ambitious mission: to build a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. During her tenure with the foundation, she has guided the highly acclaimed, national youth tobacco prevention counter-marketing campaign, truth®, which has been credited in part with reducing youth smoking prevalence to near record lows. In 2007, with Dr. Healton’s guidance and support, Legacy spearheaded a national coalition of public and private organizations – the National Alliance for Tobacco Cessation – to launch the first-ever national smoking cessation campaign since the Fairness Doctrine, a brief period during which public health groups received free time on the airwaves to counter televised ads to sell tobacco. Legacy has also established a research institute, The Steven A. Schroeder Institute which has grown markedly since its inception.
Dr. Healton holds a doctorate from Columbia University’s School of Public Health (with distinction) and a master’s degree in Public Administration from NYU Wagner in Health Policy and Planning.
From 1975 until the present, Dr. Healton held a variety of posts at Columbia University including Associate for Clinical Administration and Assistant Vice-President for the Health Sciences where among other roles she oversaw hospital affiliation affairs. In 1987 she joined Columbia University’s Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health in New York, where she served as Chair of the Department of Socio-medical Sciences, Associate Dean for Program Development, and Director of the Center for Applied Public Health. During her tenure at Columbia, Dr. Healton worked to expand the scope of public health programs and undertook innovative educational initiatives to advance public health practice in NYC and throughout the nation. She was the founding chair of the Public health Practice Council of the Association of Schools of Public Health and served on numerous committees of the AAMC and ASPH. She directed multiple service and research grants serving as PI and co-PI on over 20 grants. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and special reports on a variety of public health related topics including HIV Aids, public health education, health policy, substance abuse and tobacco.
Dr. Healton’s career in the field of public health has earned her national recognition and praise.The recipient of numerous prestigious awards, she has been honored with the Secretary of HHS award for Innovation in Public Health for her work to reduce prenatal transmission of HIV through rapid dissemination of culturally tailored education to increase use of medical therapy in pregnancy and the Public Health Award from NYC Department of health for her work in advancing public health practice. She has also received the American Lung Association’s Life and Breath Award, was named the Donald A. Berreth Lecturer by the National Public Health Information Coalition and received the public communications award from the Public Health Association of New York City. She is the recipient of the Troy R. Westmeyer Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award from New York University’s Wagner School.
She is also an active member of the broader public health community, serving on several boards including currently the National Board of Public Health Examiners (treasurer), the Betty Ford Institute, Lung Cancer Alliance, and Phoenix House.
Dr. Healton is a thought-provoking public speaker and has given presentations around the world. Considered bold, inspirational and humorous, she is a frequent commentator on national and local broadcasts and print news coverage of tobacco control issues, appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America; CNN’s Larry King Live; NBC’s Today, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, National Public Radio and more.
Thank you Dean Healton for giving so freely of your time and sharing some of your experiences. April 13, 2015