Cheri A. Pies DrPH ’93, MSW, MPH ’85 is a clinical professor emerita at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and principal investigator of the Best Babies Zone Initiative, a place based multi-sector approach to reducing infant mortality through community driven transformation. As one of the pioneers in understanding social determinants of health, she has worked to address the ways in which social and economic disparities and inequities influence birth outcomes and generational health across the life course

Secrets to success

“Collaboration is my touchstone—with colleagues and students. Learning from one another is the high point of my time at Berkeley. I have learned an enormous amount from the amazing and remarkable students that I have had the privilege of teaching over the past many years—both in MCH and the DrPH Programs. And in order to succeed in the field, one needs to network, know their colleagues, understand what the work is that others are doing, and be able to work together with one another effectively and collaboratively.”

Berkeley moment

“For me, one great moment was when I was taking my Qualifying Exam in 1991. My committee members consisted of Brenda Eskenazi and Larry Wallack and Carol D’Onofrio from the School of Public Health. As one would imagine, I was nervous and uncertain about this examination. Although I had prepared repeatedly and as best I could for it, I was incredibly nervous. What I remember most, and why this is my ‘Berkeley moment’ is that the entire experience felt like an intellectually demanding and engaging conversation with people who I have deep and enduring respect for, and here they were…talking about me and my research an my ideas. I came away from that experience seeing myself as more than just a student, but as someone who had the ability to make a real and meaningful difference in the field of public health.”

A change to one U.S. policy that would transform public health

“I would definitely be looking at family leave policies and housing.” 

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