Huang wins AAFP Public Health Award
TAFP member Philip Huang, M.D., M.P.H., was awarded the 2012 Public Health Award by the American Academy of Family Physicians at its annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pa. AAFP’s Public Health Award recognizes individuals who have made or are making extraordinary contributions to the health of the American public.
Throughout his career, Huang has shown extraordinary dedication to improving the health of the public through his coordination and implementation of a number of programs that have sought to reduce tobacco use and treat chronic disease. He currently serves as medical director and health authority for the Austin/Travis County Health Department, where he oversees communicable disease control, epidemiology and surveillance, emergency preparedness, immunizations, and chronic disease prevention.
After identifying tobacco use as the leading cause of death in Travis County in 2007—more than alcohol, drugs, suicide, car accidents, HIV/AIDS, homicide, and fire combined—Huang began actively pursuing funding for a comprehensive community tobacco cessation program. In 2010, the Austin/Travis County Health Department was awarded a $7.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement comprehensive community changes to reduce tobacco use.
He oversaw a campaign that promoted free community tobacco cessation resources, discouraged youth access to smoking products, and called for tobacco-free campus policies at area worksites, colleges, and other public settings. This campaign has become a model for other communities across Texas and throughout the nation.
Huang’s commitment to this cause began in medical school at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he organized a student chapter of Doctors Ought to Care and presented AAFP’s Tar Wars youth tobacco use prevention program at area schools. He even convinced a local advertising company to donate billboard signs to display their poster contest winner’s artwork.