Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award



Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award

2016 Call for Nominations

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About the Award

The Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award is presented annually by the UAB School of Public Health to recognize an individual, group, or organization that is an unconventional public health hero. The award is named in honor of Louise Wooster, the 19th century Birmingham madam, who risked her life during the 1873 cholera epidemic by staying to care for the sick and dying.  That year the young city of Birmingham was struck by a devastating epidemic; almost overnight the town emptied, including all the local leadership.   
Lou Wooster’s grit and determination to stay in Birmingham, along with some of the other girls at her house on Morris Avenue, is credited with assuring there was a Birmingham for the leadership to come back to.  During her colorful career she had a purported affair with John Wilkes Booth, was the model for Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara, and became a local philanthropist.  When she died in May 1913, hundreds of empty black carriages drove by the funeral home to pay respects to the local hero.   
Previous winners of the Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award include State Representative Patricia Todd, the first openly gay elected official in the State of Alabama; American Electric Power, the Western Hemisphere’s largest burner of coal for its strong and environmentally collaborative efforts to produce clean energy; the VF Corporation for its decision to rebuild the Wrangler Distribution Center in rural Hackleberg, Alabama which was destroyed in the April 2013 tornados; and Angelou Ezeilo, Founder of the Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta.
These are all uncommon public health heroes, selected because their work falls outside the traditional boundaries of public health yet has a great impact on the public‘s health.
Nominations for the 2016 Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award are now being accepted until Friday, March 4, 2016.   Nominees must be an individual, group, or organization that has made a significant contribution to public health and the nominees’ profession or work life is outside traditional public health or health care.  The 2016 Lou Wooster Public Health Hero Award will be presented on April 6, 2016 in Birmingham.
The nomination form can be found here.  Each nomination must include at least two letters of support and relevant supporting materials.
Nominations or questions should be directed to:
Broad Street Committee
UAB School of Public Health
1665 University Blvd.
Birmingham, AL 35294
Attention: Max Michael, MD, Dean
(205) 975-7742



Previous Winners

  • State Representative Patricia Todd (2007)
  • Dr. Herman Taylor, Director of the Jackson Heart Study (2008)
  • Mr. John Archibald, columnist and social commentator with the Birmingham News (2009)
  • American Electric Power (2010)
  • Frank Stitt, executive chef of fine local dining establishments such as Highlands Bar & Grill, Chez Fonfon, and Bottega Restaurant (2011)
  • VF Corporation (2012)  
  • Birmingham City Council (2013)
  • Cooking Light Magazine (2014)
  • Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and Founder of the Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta (2015)