Health Care for All, a leading advo­cacy group in Mass­a­chu­setts, will begin naming an annual lead­er­ship award in honor of John Auer­bach, Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Prac­tice in the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences and director of the university’s Insti­tute on Urban Health Research.

Amy Whit­comb Slemmer, the CEO of Health Care for All, announced the cre­ation of the organization’s new John Auer­bach Com­mu­nity Leader Award during a recep­tion at North­eastern on Monday after­noon. “Throughout his remark­able 30-​​year career, he has worn a number of sig­nif­i­cant hats, making our state and the world a better place in each of those posi­tions,” she said. “He has long been a cham­pion of health­care con­sumers and under­served populations.”

Auer­bach joined North­eastern in October of last year. Before his fac­ulty appoint­ment, he served as the com­mis­sioner of the Mass­a­chu­setts Depart­ment of Public Health from 2007 to 2012. From 1998 to 2007, he served as the exec­u­tive director of the Boston Public Health Com­mis­sion, the oldest health depart­ment in the United States.

His career has focused on devel­oping poli­cies and pro­grams to pro­mote well­ness; address racial and ethnic dis­par­i­ties in health­care; combat infec­tious and chronic dis­eases; and sup­port the imple­men­ta­tion of broad, statewide health­care reforms. He also led the state’s response to the early stages of the HIV and AIDS outbreak.

We are so hon­ored to have John on our fac­ulty, and you can imagine his impact has been imme­diate and immea­sur­able,” said Terry Fulmer, dean of Bouvé. She said Auer­bach has quickly become a valu­able teacher and col­league, noting that “his work tran­scends bound­aries, touching dis­ci­plines across the university.”

State Rep. Jef­frey Sanchez, who co-​​chairs the Joint Com­mittee on Public Health, praised Auer­bach as an offi­cial who went above and beyond the call of duty, working long hours to cham­pion impor­tant causes that often took years to accomplish.

John burned the candle at both ends, really serving the Com­mon­wealth to no end,” Sanchez said.

Health Care for All will present the award bearing Auerbach’s name at its annual gala on April 10 titled “For The People: A Cel­e­bra­tion of Health Care Leaders.”

Auer­bach praised the orga­ni­za­tion for rep­re­senting groups that would oth­er­wise not have a voice in government.

I can hon­estly say that I’m not sure we would have had health­care reform in Mass­a­chu­setts had it not been for Health Care for All,” he said. “They brought the per­spec­tives of some of the most vul­ner­able people in our state to the table, rep­re­senting the people who would ben­efit most from the legislation.”