The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (NCIPE) has chosen the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) as the recipient of its Pioneer Award for its work in stimulating interprofessional education across the United States.

A Tribute to IPEC Co-Founder Harrison C. Spencer (1944-2016)

Harrison C. SpencerFounding Member and Board of Directors Chair Harrison C. Spencer, MD, MPH, President and CEO of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) passed away on August 10, 2016, in Washington, DC.

For the leadership of Dr. Spencer and his colleagues, NCIPE recognizes IPEC for its extraordinary leadership in bridging together education and practice across its many health professions. A member of many committees, boards, and professional societies, Dr. Spencer was most proud of co-founding IPEC with his medical, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry peers in 2009 .

Dr. Spencer’s death is a loss that is felt far and wide in the interprofessional movement to which he cared and contributed so much. In his own words, Dr. Spencer worked tirelessly to “deliver on the promise of interprofessional education and practice to improve health and populations.”

In July 2000, Dr. Spencer assumed the position of President and CEO of the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), and in August 2013, he led the transformation of ASPH to a new organization, the ASPPH. His intellect, passion, leadership, and compelling ethical values were treasured by all in the ASPPH community.

A true leader, Dr. Spencer worked tirelessly on behalf of academic public health. Nationally and internationally recognized for his clinical public health work, research endeavors in infectious disease prevention and control, and authorship of more than 100 publications, Dr. Spencer was uniquely able to speak on both practice and research perspectives.

In recent years, Dr. Spencer was frequently called upon to speak to both prospective students in public health as well as students already active in the field he came to love and champion. He dug deep into the many lessons he learned in his professional and personal experiences to prepare remarks that could inspire the next generation of health professionals. He often spoke about the enormous potential of individuals working purposefully, through barriers and across cultures, for the health of the public and the value of each and every person’s potential to make a difference.

This quote from a recent speech he gave to students rings true to all who knew Dr. Spencer and who wake up every day excited to continue work to improve the public’s health:

Public health is filled with heroes, both well known and unknown. They are visible on the national or international stage or they work quietly in communities with families and individuals. When they do their job, they often become invisible.”

IPEC will remember and honor Dr. Spencer’s legacy by continuing and supporting his work to transform health care delivery.

Read more about Dr. Spencer’s profound impact and life accomplishments in public health.

Inside OME Header
September 2016
Vol. 10, No. 7