Remembering “Mr. Public Health”
It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing this weekend of Dr. George Pickett, a titan of public health, not only in West Virginia but nationally and abroad.
Dr. Pickett was a physician who spent his career working in public health in every imaginable way possible. He worked at the local level serving as the director of health departments in California, Michigan and New York, at the state level directing the West Virginia Department of Health under Governor Rockefeller, at the national level as President of the American Public Health Association and the American College of Preventive Medicine, in academia at schools around the country and in the United Kingdom, and even at the grassroots level as a member of the Board of Directors of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.
Although I served alongside Dr. Pickett for several years on the Board of WVAHC, I did not know him very well as our interactions were limited to brief conversations at monthly meetings, of which he was unable to attend very many recently due to his health. I now regret not having taken the time to get to know him better and learn from him and his huge wealth of experience. It is not often you find someone who is so genuinely devoted to and capable of promoting public health. Dr. Pickett was a public health superstar long before it was the cool thing to do.
He was an impressive fellow and will truly be missed. May you rest in peace, Dr. Pickett.
You can find his obituary here: http://www.wvgazette.com/Obituaries#124697
(Image on Right: Announcement of Dr. Pickett’s selection as APHA President from the American Journal of Public Health, 1977)