Cal State LA public health professor receives CSU's Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award
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LOS ANGELES - Californer -- Walter Zelman, a public health professor at Cal State LA, has been named a recipient of the California State University (CSU) Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award.

Zelman is one of only 19 faculty members in the CSU system to receive the award, which recognizes outstanding faculty leaders who use innovative practices in teaching, course design or support programs that significantly improve student outcomes.

"I am particularly pleased to receive this award because in honoring me the CSU is indicating that it values the kinds of other-than-academic career experiences I have had and the unique educational opportunities those experiences can produce for our students," said Zelman.

A committee of faculty and staff from the CSU Chancellor's Office, as well as student representatives from the Cal State Student Association, selected the awardees out of more than 200 nominations.

Zelman is director of the Department of Public Health in Cal State LA's Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services. He has more than 20 years of experience working in health policy. During the Clinton Administration, Zelman served as a senior White House adviser on efforts to win health reform and universal coverage.

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Since 2013, Zelman has organized the annual CSU Health Policy Conference (CSU-HPC)​ ( in Sacramento, where hundreds of students and faculty have met with legislators, lobbyists, journalists, staffers and public health professionals.

"Professor Zelman's passion for the field of public health and desire to help students across the CSU are an inspiration to us all," said Cal State LA President William A. Covino. "We congratulate him on this outstanding recognition."

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Zelman secured a $1.25 million education grant from Covered California to lead a statewide effort educating CSU students about the new law​ (, resulting in a reduction of uninsured CSU students from 25-30% to less than 10%.

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In addition, Zelman established an internship program with the California Department of Public Health to provide students an opportunity to gain hands-on work experience. Most recently, Zelman piloted the Careers in Health project at Cal State LA.

"Professor Zelman embodies our ethic of service and the public good," said Jose A. Gomez, provost and executive vice president at Cal State LA. "His innovation and dedication have benefitted the CSU, Cal State LA, and the students we teach and mentor."

As part of the CSU recognition, Zelman will receive a $5,000 cash award and $10,000 will be allocated to the Department of Public Health at Cal State LA to support ongoing innovation and leadership to advance student success.

He will be formally recognized at a special reception in conjunction with the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium on Oct. 17 in Sacramento.

Cal State LA

Source: Cal State LA
Filed Under: Education

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