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Aileen Walsh Receives Award for Longtime Dedication to Public Interest

Dec. 6, 2011 

Aileen Walsh Receives Award for Longtime Dedication to Public Interest

Public Citizen Employee Honored With the Ninth Annual Phyllis McCarthy Public Interest Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aileen Walsh, a Public Citizen development officer and executive assistant to Robert Weissman, the organization’s president, is the winner of Public Citizen’s ninth annual Phyllis McCarthy Public Interest Award

Named after Phyllis McCarthy, who served as the managing editor of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group for 24 years, the award recognizes an “unsung hero” in the public interest movement in the United States and gives credit to someone who is fundamental to the functioning of their organization. McCarthy helped pioneer the development of every health publication now produced by Public Citizen. She died in 2002.

Walsh (maiden name Coyne), a Pittsburgh native, is the first award-winner who has worked with McCarthy. She joined Public Citizen in July 1993 as the executive assistant to then-President Joan Claybrook and continues to take on many roles at the organization.

In addition to her executive assistant and development duties, Walsh is the secretary to Public Citizen’s board of directors. Walsh assists the president, board members and the directors in scheduling conferences calls, making travel arrangements and setting up meetings. But beyond official job descriptions, Walsh holds together the Public Citizen community and carries unofficial titles such as “social director” and “resident psychologist,” but perhaps her most fitting nickname is “queen mother.”

“With her high energy, good spirit, sense of humor, experience, wisdom, commitment, passion, insight, intelligence, wit, common sense and sense of fun, Aileen Walsh keeps a very intense staff functioning, effective and happy,” Weissman said. “There’s no royalty at Public Citizen, but we make an exception for our Queen, Aileen Walsh.”

“I am proud to have been part of Public Citizen for 18 years and truly enjoy the many lasting friendships I’ve made over the years,” Walsh said. 

There will be an award ceremony at 5 p.m. followed by a reception on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Public Citizen’s headquarters at 1600 20th St. N.W., Washington, D.C.

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org