About the Honorees
Governor Michael and Mrs. Kitty Dukakis, like CHA, have always been steadfast leaders and passionate supporters of our state’s most vulnerable populations, working to ameliorate disparities and address the social determinants of health. Michael served as governor of Massachusetts from 1975-1979 and from 1983-1991, leaving a lasting impact on the overall well-being of underserved and poor communities. Always innovative, he advanced economic development by introducing gateway cities and investing in public transportation. Michael responded to family homelessness by establishing the first public shelter in Massachusetts in 1983 during his first week back in office and creating programs that significantly increased affordable housing. He also signed a bill that was a precursor to later legislation guaranteeing universal access to healthcare. Michael was the Democratic nominee for president in 1988 and continues to shape public policy today. He serves as a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University and visiting professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Kitty helped to reduce the stigma related to depression and addiction by sharing her personal struggle. She advocated for quality and compassionate behavioral health care, ensuring the availability of vital treatment services and shelters for women. Kitty is the author of the books Now You Know, the story of her battle with addiction and depression, and Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy. Kitty is also a leading advocate of care for autistic children, serving on the advisory board of the New England Center for Children. She has dedicated much of her work to contemporary human rights issues as well. Kitty has been an advocate for victims of genocide and for refugees’ rights, working to ensure that refugees get a fair start at new, fulfilling, and productive lives in their adopted communities.