It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our beloved founder Dr. William (Bill) Carter Jenkins. He passed in the company of family and friends on February 17, 2019. This is an incredible loss for the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI), Morehouse College, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health as well as the fields of public health and epidemiology in general. For nearly five decades, Dr. William “Bill” Jenkins has devoted himself to eliminating racial/ethnic health disparities and expanding opportunities for racial/ethnic minorities to enter and succeed in careers in biostatistics and epidemiology.
As an unabashed voice for the elimination of disparities, Dr. Jenkins unapologetically, challenged rhetoric and practice that would perpetuate the misnomer that race (rather than racism) is the cause for the unjust and inequitable prevalence of disparate health outcomes forced upon racial/ethnic minorities. In addition, Dr. Jenkins was a caring mentor with a heart for the mentorship of students, student leaders and early career researchers and professionals.
Without his founding vision and direction in partnership with our founding members, SAAPHI would not exist. A compassionate leader, Dr. Jenkins has inspired many of us to continue this work even when we felt challenged. He has encouraged us, in the face of opposition, to innovate and find new ways to reach our goal of eradicating unjust, unfair, and inequitable health disparities. He has challenged us to question everything and taught us not to ascribe to the idea that we are limited by what we are told or what we see. It is because of his leadership and vision that SAAPHI continues to persist.
It is difficult to imagine a world without Dr. Jenkins, who always wore a smile. He has left an indelible impression on me personally as a student, an early career professional and now as a leader in SAAPHI and APHA. I am thankful for the foundation that he has created for our great organization and I am dedicated (as I hope you are) to continuing his legacy and honoring his memory in all that SAAPHI does. It was an honor to have had Dr. Bill Jenkins for the time that we have and it is an honor that we are able to continue to honor is life and legacy.
Thank you Bill for your vision, your leadership and for a life well lived. Rest Well.
Bill is survived by his wife Diane Rowley, daughter Danielle Rowley-Jenkins, nephew Daniel Jenkins, and nieces Robin Jenkins and Alexandra Jenkins.
On Behalf of SAAPHI Past, Present, & Future,
Sandy-Asari Hogan, DrPH, MPH, CHES, CPH
SAAPHI President (2018-2020)