Title at time of award
Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago International Public Health
Since graduating in 1991, Mary Ellen Simpson fulfilled her dreams while tromping through the bush in Ghana, investigating disease in the Gaza Strip, helping patients during mortar attacks in Iraq and teaching future doctors the importance of public health in a community. Simpson is the director of Program in Population and Community Health at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Along with her administrative duties to the college, she has been active in research and conducting studies for the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. She also teaches classes on preventive health and epidemiology for medical students. Known as a nurse-epidemiologist, Simpson’s expertise allows her to study the health of populations, the illnesses that affect them and policies to help those populations eradicate disease.