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Deborah Klein Walker, Ed.D.

Vice President, Senior Fellow, Public Health and Epidemiology Practice Lead, U.S. Health

Deborah Klein Walker, Ed.D. Deborah Klein Walker, Ed.D.
Deborah Klein Walker is a nationally honored public health leader and behavioral science researcher with a career that has spanned 40 years. She has a special interest in maternal and child health, chronic disease prevention, disabilities, birth defects, early childhood systems and the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases. As a vice president in Abt’s U.S. Health Division and leader of the Public Health and Epidemiology Practice, Dr. Walker plans, conducts and oversees numerous evaluations, many in community settings, using experimental and/or quasi-experimental designs that employ both quantitative and qualitative methods.
She has written three books, more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and numerous op-eds and commentaries on topics that include infant mortality, disability, early childhood and chronic disease prevention. Her writing has appeared on the news sites of CNN, the Huffington Post and the Boston Globe.
Dr. Walker is a former president of the American Public Health Association and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. She is also a former board member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, founder of New England SERVE and founding member of the Research Consortium on Children with Chronic Conditions. She is currently a trustee of the Cambridge Health Alliance, a board member of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, the president-elect of the American Orthopsychiatry Association, an editorial board member for the Maternal and Child Health Journal and a member of the Governing Council for the World Federation of Public Health Associations.  
Prior to joining Abt, Dr. Walker was the associate commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and a full-time faculty member at Harvard University. She also taught at the Boston University School of Public Health where still retains a position on its faculty. She is a Fellow of the American Orthopsychiatry Association (1983), the Association for Psychological Science (1990) and the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health (Hon FRSH) (2007).

Dr. Walker holds an Ed.D. and Ed.M. in Human Development from Harvard University. She earned a B.A. in Psychology with great distinction and high honors from Mount Holyoke College.
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  • Martha May Elliot Award, the American Public Health Association, 2013.
  • George Michaels Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurial Accomplishment, Abt Associates, 2010.
  • Distinguished Alumnae Achievement Award, Mount Holyoke College, 2010.
  • Vince L. Hutchins Partnership Award, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.
  • Ziegler Founder's Award for Visionary Leadership for Individuals with Disabilities, Federation for Children with Special Needs [2003].
  • Outstanding Leadership Award, Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology, (14 national health organizations), 2002.

Selected Publications

  • Walker, D.K. (1973). Socioemotional Measures for Preschool and Kindergarten Children: A Handbook. San Francisco:Jossey‑Bass.
  • Walker, D.K. & Richmond, J.B. (eds.) (1984). Monitoring Child Health in the United States: Selected Issues and Policies. Boston, MA: Division of Health Policy Research and Education, Harvard University.
  • Hauser-Cram, P., Pierson, D.E., Walker D.K. & Tivnan, T. (l991). Early Education in the Public Schools: Lessons from a Comprehensive Birth to Kindergarten Program. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Journal Articles
  • Davol, S., Hastings, M.L., & Klein, D.A. (1965). Effect of age, sex, and speed to rotation on rotary pursuit performance by young children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 21, 351‑357.
  • Jacobs, F.H. & Walker, D.K.  (1978). Pediatricians and the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. Pediatrics, 61, 135‑137.
  • Walker, D.K., Clark, C.J.G., Jacobs, F.H. & Gortmaker, S.L. (1981). Parents' and professionals' views on health education topics. Massachusetts Journal of Community Health, 1(3), 18‑23.
  • Gortmaker, S.L., Walker, D.K., Jacobs, F.H. & Ruch‑Ross, H. (1982). Parental smoking and the risk of childhood asthma. American Journal of Public Health, 72, 574‑579.
  • Walker, D.K., Cross, A., Heymann, P., Ruch‑Ross, H., Benson, P. & Tuthill, J.W.G. (1982). Comparisons between innercity and private school adolescents' perceptions of health problems. Journal of Adolescent Health Care, 3, 82‑90.
  • Davidson, H. & Walker, D.K. (1983). National healthline: services for handicapped children. Journal of Health and Social Work, 8, 72‑74.
  • Pierson, D.E., Bronson, M.D., Dromey, E., Swartz, J.P., Tivnan, T. & Walker, D.K. (1983). The impact of early education: Measured by classroom observations and teacher ratings of children at kindergarten. Evaluation Review, 7, 191‑216.
  • Pierson, D.E., Walker, D.K. & Tivnan, T. (1984). School‑based programs from infancy to kindergarten for children and their parents. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 62, 448‑454.     
  • Reinherz, H., Walker, D.K., Gordon, A.L., Belfer, M. & Ramsey, L. (1984). Clinical assessments and maternal judgments: concurrent and predictive relationshipsAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 54, 236‑249.