California State University, Los Angeles
Walter Zelman, Ph.D., chair and professor in the Public Health Department at Cal State LA, is recognized for his commitment to igniting students' interest in the field of public health.
Since 2013, Dr. Zelman has organized the CSU Health Policy Conference (CSU-HPC) in Sacramento, a yearly event for hundreds of students and faculty to convene with legislators, lobbyists, journalists, staffers and public health professionals. Students are exposed to careers in public health as they network, attend hearings and learn about different perspectives on public health. The trip is largely sponsored by the California Endowment, but its impact has led to more CSU campuses funding students and faculty to participate.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Zelman secured a $1.25 million education grant from Covered California to lead a statewide effort educating CSU students about the new law, resulting in a reduction of uninsured CSU students from 25-30% to less than 10%. He also engaged students as Covered California educators which provided students with outreach experience on 14 campuses.
Zelman also established an internship program with the California Department of Public Health to provide students the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience. Most recently, Zelman piloted the Careers in Health project at Cal State LA, which includes a well-received career conference for students.
“Dr. Zelman works tirelessly to bring faculty, staff and students together across the CSU system; all in an effort to advance student success and empower students across the CSU," says Kristen Emory, Ph.D., director and advisor to undergraduates at San Diego State's School of Public Health.