Howard Koh Advocates for Public Health and Access


On Friday, May 16, 2014, Wheelock College will recognize three honorary degree recipients, talented leaders who embody the spirit of the undergraduate and graduate Commencement theme of “Innovation. Access. Opportunity.” Through their tireless dedication to increasing access to quality healthcare and education, they have improved the lives of innumerable children and families throughout the world. Honorees include Howard K. Koh, David C. Banks, and Mary Tiseo.

Undergraduate commencement speaker Dr. Howard K. Koh serves as the 14th Assistant Secretary for Health for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Koh is dedicated to the mission of creating better public health systems for prevention and care so that all people can reach their highest attainable standard of health. Dr. Koh has close ties to Boston having served as Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1997-2003) and his son, Daniel Arrigg Koh, serves as Chief of Staff to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Howard KohAs Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Koh oversees 12 public health offices, and implements an array of interdisciplinary programs relating to disease prevention, health promotion, the reduction of health disparities, women’s and minority health, adolescent health, HIV/AIDS, chronic infections diseases, and health fitness and promotion.

“We are thrilled to be honoring Howard K. Koh, who shares an unwavering commitment to our mission of improving the lives of children and families,” said Wheelock President Jackie Jenkins-Scott. “Our Commencement theme truly reflects his life’s work as a passionate public health advocate.”

Most recently, Dr. Koh was included in Bostinno’s list of 25 Famed Commencement Speakers Gracing Boston This Season.