2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards Honor Two Extraordinary Leaders
Muka Chikuba-McLeod and Kate Onyejekwe, MPH alumni and global health leaders at John Snow, Inc., will be presented with 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the APHA Annual Meeting in Atlanta on November 12.
During the upcoming American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, the School of Public Health will honor Muka Chikuba-McLeod (SPH’98) and Kate Onyejekwe (SPH’03) with 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards.
Since 1989, the Distinguished Alumni Awards have recognized SPH graduates who have made outstanding contributions and exemplify dedication to the field of public health on a local, national, or global level. Chikuba-McLeod and Onyejekwe, MPH program alumni and global health leaders at John Snow, Inc. (JSI), will accept the awards at the BUSPH Alumni and Friends Reception at the Atlanta Aquarium on November 12.
Muka Chikuba-McLeod trained as a physician at the University of Zambia and served on the frontlines of the country’s HIV epidemic for seven years before pivoting to public health. After earning her MPH in international health at BUSPH and a MSc in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Chikuba-McLeod dedicated more than two decades to global public health consulting at JSI, leading five major global health initiatives. She brings to the table the ability to form strategic partnerships with governments, civil society, the private sector, and communities. In her most recent roles as chief of party for the JSI-implemented USAID SAFE (Supporting an AIDS Free Era) program and JSI country representative for Zambia, Chikuba-McLeod was responsible for providing HIV treatment to more than 300,000 Zambians in three provinces. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the fruits of your work through the improved lives and livelihoods of other people, and sometimes in public health you get to experience that first hand,” she says.
Kate Onyejekwe is currently director of the international division of JSI in Washington, DC, where she oversees a portfolio of global programs and directs an array of technical competency centers, including JSI’s centers for immunization, health supply chain management, monitoring and evaluation, digital health, behavior initiatives, capacity building, HIV, maternal and child health, and community health. Onyejekwe, a former Rhodes Scholar, holds a bachelor’s in English Studies from the University of Ife, Nigeria and master’s in English Studies from the University of Oxford. Before earning her MPH in international health at BUSPH, she spent her early career traversing Nigeria gaining technical expertise in family planning, reproductive health, maternal health, youth programming, and institutional capacity building. Over her nearly three decades in public health, Onyejekwe has worked in more than 15 countries. Most recently, she served as deputy director of the MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience program, which works to improve health and resilience of individuals, communities and health systems in fragile settings. Onyejekwe credits her success to her articulate communication, and a less conventional strategy: love. “It is the way you instill trust with your colleagues,” says Onyejekwe. “That is what makes this work, and what makes us across-the-board better implementers of public health programs.”
Dean Sandro Galea, who will present the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards, says of this year’s recipients, “Muka Chikuba-McLeod and Kate Onyejekwe have done distinguished work for decades that advances the health of global populations. They have both taken on some of the hardest challenges in global health—improving lives of people in low-resource settings—implementing programs and overseeing work that has made a tremendous difference for so many. The school takes enormous pride in the work of all our graduates, and particularly so in the work of graduates like Muka and Kate who have worked for so long to improve the health of all.”
All are welcome to join the BUSPH Alumni and Friends Reception in Atlanta on November 12. Registration is now open.