Campus News

College of Public Health honors 2 alums at hall of fame ceremony

Angelica Geter and Dean Heather Bush
Sydney Clark and Dean Heather Bush

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 13, 2023) — The University of Kentucky College of Public Health honored alumni and community members at its hall of fame ceremony held on Oct. 12.

Angelica Geter, Dr.P.H., received the Distinguished Leader Award and Sydney Clark received the Promising Leader Award.

As founder and CEO of Impactful Collaboration, Geter uplifts her mission of wellness, equity, and justice through social impact research, policy, strategic planning, and engagement. Her work has been shared globally through op-eds, peer-reviewed publications and legislative recommendations.

Previously, she was executive vice president of strategy and business for the Black Women's Health Imperative. There, Geter created and delivered a multimillion-dollar evidence-based initiative to promote healthy workplaces through equity technology and research, community and corporate partnerships, and legislative engagement. Before her work with BWHI, she led the mayor of Atlanta's public health strategies and pandemic response team as the city's inaugural chief health officer.

Geter notes that CPH courses expanded and enhanced her public health knowledge and introduced her to the value of public health leadership.

“The experience and privilege of being inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Public Health Hall of Fame is beyond any honor that I expected, planned, or desired for myself, especially at the start of my public health career,” said Geter. “I am a servant leader. I am a person who leads with empathy, as I desire to experience a world that is better not only for myself but the world around me. This honor was unexpected and yet exactly what I needed to confirm and affirm the next phase of my journey. Returning to Lexington and seeing my Wildcat family reminded me why I chose the University of Kentucky to propel my public health journey. The ongoing kindness, love and support that I have received from the College of Public Health speaks to the heart of the college and the university.”

The Distinguished Leader Award is bestowed upon an individual who graduated from the UK College of Public Health more than five years ago and has demonstrated perseverance and excellence in their career in public health, hospital or health system leadership, health outcomes, and/or population health.

Leading with her own experience of being blind, Clark is the Maternal and Child Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program director for the Tennessee Department of Health. She works each day to make the world a better, more inclusive place for those with disabilities.

Each hall of fame inductee receives a plaque to display their honor. Clark notes that she is touched by the way CPH goes above and beyond to be inclusive of her and others with disabilities, which helped plant the seed in her mind that she wanted this to be her life’s work.

“Something that I would like to mention about receiving the award/the ceremony is the braille inclusion with the program and the actual plaque,” said Clark. “That means so much to me, and the fact that they took the time to do that for me is massively appreciated. This honor signifies to me that the work I’m doing is important, and others see that. It motivates me more to keep trying as hard as I can to increase inclusivity for vulnerable populations in emergency preparedness and all other spaces as well.”

The Promising Leader Award is bestowed upon an individual who graduated from the UK College of Public Health within the last five years and has laid the foundation for a promising career in public health, hospital or health system leadership, health outcomes, and/or population health.

Also honored during the ceremony was the late Millard A. "Doc" Shepherd, M.D., who received the Hume Medallion Award. The Hume Medallion, named for Gen. Edgar Hume, represents a lifelong commitment to promoting public health.

Hume, a Kentucky native, retired from the U.S. Army as the most highly decorated physician in Army history, which included public health responses to environmental disasters, economic displacement and plagues. The Hume Medallion Award is granted to an outstanding public health practitioner or organization demonstrating exceptional service to the nation, Commonwealth of Kentucky, University of Kentucky, or College of Public Health.

For more on the CPH Hall of Fame, visit its page on the college's website.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.