Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH ’82, MBA
Woodrow Wilson Award for Distinguished Government Service
Director, Catalyzing Demand for Healthy Places and Practices
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
As Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity of Philadelphia from 2008 to 2014, Dr. Schwarz served as Health Commissioner and oversaw the departments of Health, Human Services and Behavioral Health Services, as well as the Office of Homeless Services. During an unprecedented recession, he preserved city services, including eight health centers serving more than 90,000 mostly uninsured patients. He negotiated contracts with all the city’s teaching hospitals to provide specialty services and increased permanent housing for the homeless by more than 50 percent.
Under Dr. Schwarz’s leadership, Philadelphia received more than $30 million in grants to change the city’s approach to tobacco abuse and obesity. Philadelphia banned tobacco use indoors and in city parks and recreation centers, and added a $2 per pack tax. The smoking rate, previously the highest among the 10 largest U.S. cities, decreased by more than 15 percent. City policies prompted corner food stores to add fresh fruit and vegetable options and major chain restaurants to post nutritional information on their menus. Rates of HIV, infant mortality and obesity declined, and Philadelphia’s childhood immunization rates were the highest among large U.S. cities.