TMA Recognizes UTSW Epidemiologist for Lifetime Achievement Award

The award is in honor of a physician concerned with work across the border.

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has awarded Dr. Robert W. Haley with its inaugural Laurance N. Nickey, MD, Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes Haley, who serves as director of the Division of Epidemiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, for his career-long dedication to public health.

Haley spent 10 years at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serving as an epidemiologic investigator and as a director of research into infectious diseases. He has devoted much of his career to the study of infectious disease and epidemics, and in 1983 founded UT Southwestern’s Division of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. He also has done research into prevention measures for hospital-related infections, as well as how to reduce ozone-causing emissions which negatively impact air quality.

Dr. Laurance N. Nickey, for whom the award is named, was known for establishing the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission to address concerns in public health across the border. Before his death in 2018, he spent his career helping to secure access to healthcare for various populations throughout Southwest Texas and New Mexico.

“Like the late Dr. Nickey, Dr. Haley has exhibited an impressive commitment to community [and] leadership within TMA and his county medical society, while mentoring countless young physicians and public health professionals,” said Wendy Chung, MD, chair of TMA’s council on Science and Public Health, via release.“He is a clean air advocate, sought to reduce ozone-causing emissions from coal-fired power plants, and established TMA’s air pollution control policies. Texans breathe easier and live better because of Dr. Haley’s work.”

“I’m overwhelmed to be honored because there are so many people in Texas who equally deserve that award,” said Dr. Haley via release. “People go into medicine to help people and make their lives better. Dr. Nickey’s example and his ability to inspire made him one of the most outstanding influences from the viewpoint of public health.”


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