Deborah Klein Walker, EdD, is a public health researcher and leader with over 40 years of experience developing and implementing programs and system change, research, evaluation, policy analysis and consulting on a broad range of public policy issues across the lifespan. She recently retired from Abt Associates where she was a Vice President, Senior Fellow and Practice Leader for Public Health and Epidemiology in the US Health Division. Prior to Abt, Dr. Walker spent 16 years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where she was the Maternal and Child Health Title V Director, Acting Director for Substance Abuse Services, Assistant Commissioner for Family and Community Health, and Associate Commissioner for Programs and Prevention. As the Director of the Bureau of Family and Community Health for over a decade, Dr. Walker was responsible for all MCH Title V programs, including those for children and youth with special health care needs and special initiatives with Medicaid and other insurers related to enrollment, quality, benefits and building systems of care. Prior to state service, she was a faculty member for over a decade at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
She currently is the Immediate Past President of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (formerly, the American Orthopsychiatric Association); an Adjunct Professor at Boston University School of Public Health and at Tufts University School of Medicine; a Board Member of Family Voices, the Institute for Community Health and the Cambridge Health Alliance Foundation and a member of the Editorial Board of the Maternal and Child Health Journal. She is a former president of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs; a founder of New England SERVE (an organization committed to quality services for children with special health care needs and their families); a member of the Research Consortium on Children with Chronic Conditions; a former Board Member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies; and a former Trustee of the Cambridge Health Alliance and chair of its Cambridge Health Department subcommittee.
Dr. Walker has authored three books, over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and numerous commentaries for the Nation’s Health, Huffington Post and other news outlets. She has been widely honored by organizations representing maternal and child health services, disabilities, and at-risk populations. For example, she received the Paul Revere Award from the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Martha May Eliot Award for Maternal and Child Health from the American Public Health Association, the Vince L. Hutchins Partnership Award from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Ziegler Founder’s Award for Visionary Leadership for Individuals with Disabilities from the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and the National Leadership Award from the Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology. She has served on several Institute of Medicine panels, the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality, and in various advisory capacities for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Walker earned a B.A. degree with great distinction and high honors in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an Ed.D. and Ed.M. degree in Human Development from Harvard University. Follow her on twitter @DKWpublichealth.