By Nina Abubakari, MPH, MBA, JD, FACHE
During Black History Month, it only makes sense that we recognize the man to whom our organization is credited, Dr. John B. Waller, Jr. founding member of Healthcare for the Homeless which today is Advantage Health Centers.
Dr. Waller was a highly credentialed medical professional who also served as former chair of the WSU Department of Community Health. He was considered a trailblazer and pioneer in the treatment of interpersonal violence. He considered it a public health issue, rather than a social one intrinsic to the poor. As a result, he created the WSU Center for Prevention and Control of Interpersonal Violence, the first of its kind ever in the US.
Dr. Waller also served as senior vice president for urban and community health for the Detroit Medical Center/WSU Community Health Institutes and director of the Wayne State University Institute for Maternal and Child Health. A former director of the Detroit Health Department, Dr. Waller played a critical role in forming the partnership that created Detroit Receiving Hospital and the University Health Center.
According to published report by WSU, Dr. Waller earned a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. From 1999 through 2000, he was vice president of the American Public Health Association. Health Connection, which operates several community health centers.
His professional accomplished paled only in comparison to his commitment to the community, and his dedication to ensuring that everyone had access to quality healthcare.
Today, that commitment lives on through our centers and our staff who carry out his dream every day. Yet, it was his vision that created the foundation upon which we work and continue to build and grown.
We honor, celebrate and remember Dr. John B. Waller, Jr.