2019 Wall of Honor Recipient:
Michele Connelly Black has been named the recipient of the 2019 Pleasant Valley Community School District Wall of Honor Award. The Wall of Honor Program was established in 1999 to recognize distinguished alumni who have graduated from Pleasant Valley High School.
Connelly Black graduated from PVHS in 1976 and has since spent her life dedicated to Epidemiology and public health in a variety of ways.
During her time at Pleasant Valley, Black was incredibly involved, participating in Concert and Marching band, Spartan Assembly, Track, Basketball, Letterman Club, and more. She achieved many honors during high school, being selected as an All-State Ensemble and Solo band member, the Outstanding PV Girl Track Athlete of 1976, and the 1976 Graduate Commencement Speaker.
After graduating from high school, Black took her ambition to the University of Iowa, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Minor in Chemistry in 1980.
Her studies at the University of Iowa, along with her lab work, research, and mentors , gave way to Black’s major interest in epidemiology, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), and the EIS (Epidemiology Intelligence Service). This passion led her to get her Master’s Degree in Public Health from UCLA in 1983. Black returned to the University of Iowa to obtain her PhD in Environmental Epidemiology in 1987, and then participated in a one year post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.
In 1988, Black was accepted into the Epidemic Intelligence Service, which started her 25 year career as an epidemiologist at the CDC. Her years at the CDC consisted of focused work on environmental issues, birth outcomes, and women’s health. Black worked in the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the Division of Environmental Health, and the Division of Violence Prevention.
During her professional career, Black accomplished many things, and has been recognized for numerous awards and honors, many of which are listed below:
- Publication of 44 peer reviews manuscripts related to birth defects, environmental health, and violence prevention.
- Lead scientist and subject matter expert in the design and implementation of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey which provides annual data on intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking in the U.S.
- Advisory Board Founding Member, University of Iowa College of Public Health, 1999-2002
- December, 2014 - U.S. Department of Health and Services Honor for 25 years of service for the people of the United States of America.
- August, 2012 - Special Act Service Award in recognition of the development of the first CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Surveillance System.
- August, 2008 - Recognized by the Director of the National Institute of Justice for Presentation at the Inaugural Section 904 Violence Against Women Indian Task Force Meeting.
- September, 2011 - NCIPC award in Recognition of Response to Public Health Emergencies in New York following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001
Black retired from her civil service job in 2013 to focus on more directly supporting domestic violence survivors and families facing hunger by starting her own small social entrepreneurial company. She now resides and runs her business in North Carolina.