College Overview

Florida Outstanding Woman Award

four women stand together smiling at a USF College of Public Health Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health Ceremony

USF COPH: Florida's Outstanding Woman in Public Health

The College of Public Health initiated the Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award in April 1988 to honor women in Florida who made significant contributions to the field of public health. The first recipient of the award was Dr. Flora Mae Wellings, retired director of the State Epidemiology Research Center. She served as director for 18 years and was instrumental in finding solutions to many of Florida’s environmental public health problems.Nominees should be someone whose work significantly contributed to the field of public health in Florida. Candidates may represent any sector of public health, including maternal/child health; health policy, management, finance or economics; epidemiology and biostatistics; environmental and occupational health; public health nutrition; public health nursing; international health; health education; and, toxicology/parasitology. The award is typically presented on Wednesday of National Public Health Week at the College of Public Health’s Annual Awards Ceremony. The awardee, her nominators, family, friends, and co-workers are invited to attend the ceremony. Nominations should include:
  1. A description of the nominee’s contributions to the field of public health in Florida;
  2. A current resume/CV, including contact information for the nominee;
  3. Letters of support (no more than three);
  4. Recent photo; and
  5. Official nomination cover sheet. (Note: Please save the form to your computer before you fill it out.)

Materials may be submitted separately or in one package via email to Peggy Smith at All submissions will be acknowledged by an email to the nominator. The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 10, 2023.

For more information, please contact Peggy Smith at 813-974-8577 or

Florida Outstanding Public Health Woman of the Year Awardees

  • Flora Mae Wellings – 1988
  • Helen Rodgerson Beski – 1989
  • Erica J. Koehler – 1990
  • Charlotte A. Boorde – 1991
  • Donna Mahaffey Barber – 1993
  • Annie R. Neasman – 1994
  • Marianne B. McEuen – 1995
  • Peggy Ann Collins – 1996
  • Martha E. Valiant – 1997
  • Marguerite Runyon – 1998
  • Claude M. Dharmraj, MD – 1999
  • Jean M. Malecki, MD, MPH – 2000
  • Clara Lawhead, MS, RN, LD, FADA – 2001
  • Phyllis J. Sloyer, RN, MPA – 2002
  • Jacquelyn Nash, MSW, LCSW – 2003
  • Peggy Melton-Loyless, MS – 2004
  • Bonita J. Sorensen, MD, MBA – 2004
  • Lillian M. Stark, PhD, MPH, MS – 2005
  • Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD, MPH, MS – 2006
  • Marie-José Francois, MD, MPH – 2007