Public health physician, administrator, and researcher Debhanom Muangman is being honored today for his leadership and contributions to the development of public health in Thailand and other countries of Southeast Asia.
Dr. Muangman came to Grinnell College as an undergraduate from his home in Thailand, following the example set by his father, Luang Bidyabhed, a 1923 graduate of Grinnell.
Debhanom Muangman graduated from Grinnell in 1958 will a degree in chemistry and zoology. He went on to earn a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College, followed by master's and doctoral degrees in public health from Harvard University.
Dr. Muangman has held numerous prestigious public health positions in Thailand, where he is recognized as the country's leading expert on AIDS and HIV. He has inspired generations of Asian public health professionals through his energy, enthusiasm, dedication, and accomplishments.
Most recently, Muangman was dean of the School of Public Health at Mahidol University in Bangkok. At Mahidol University, he also served as a faculty member, dean of the public health faculty, dean of the School of Environment and Resource Studies, and chair of the Department of Public Health Administration.
Among his many distinguished positions, Dr. Muangman was director of the Rangsit-Harvard Medical International Program, and adviser to many of Thailand's governmental officials and bodies. He co-founded and served as president of the Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health, which links schools of public health in 24 nations. Dr. Muangman also established the W.H.O. Health for All Leadership Collaborating Center for Southeast Asia in Bangkok. He has also written seven public health textbooks and 200 scientific articles on public health and the environment.
In 2003, Dr. Muangman won the Harvard School of Public Health's Alumni Merit award. He was the first Asian to do so. This award is the highest honor that the school bestows on its alumni, given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of public health. Dr. Muangman also received the 2003 Outstanding Person in Thailand award, and the highest royal decoration for Thai government officials, "The Grand Knight Cordon of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant."
Among his other honors, Dr. Muangman was named the Outstanding Health Educator by the Health Education Association in 1985. He also received the Health Leadership award from Asia Pacific Public Health Consortium in 1992, and the Outstanding Contributor to Mental Health award from the Buddhist Council of Thailand in 2000.
Dr. Muangman's medical mobile team continues to provide medical care to poor rural people in the remote areas of Thailand, and has done so for more than a decade.