Lewis David Polk, MD, MPH, former Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and one of the founding board members of PHMC, died on Saturday, October 24, 2009, in Philadelphia. He was 80 years old.

Polk was at the forefront of public health during his career, which spanned more than five decades. “Dr. Polk devoted his life to public service,” says PHMC senior vice president John Loeb. Polk played a leading role in founding PHMC in 1972 and was an active board member until 1981. “He was a driving force in formulating PHMC’s original mission and priorities and played a leading role in supporting PHMC leadership in emergency medical services planning and development,” adds Loeb. Polk received the PHMC Carl Moore Leadership Award in 2001.

Polk’s contributions to public health were not limited to his work in Philadelphia or with PHMC. “Dr. Polk was very instrumental in shaping public health in Pennsylvania. He leaves an admirable legacy to follow and will be missed,” says Richard Cohen, PHMC president and CEO. Polk was director of the Bucks County Health Department from 1985 to 2003 and served as president of the American Academy of Health Administration, vice president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, trustee of the U.S. Conference of City Health Officers and president of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association. He was an editorial board member of Clinical Pediatrics and published more than 50 articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Public Health, Public Health Records and other publications.