Newswise — Tammy Snyder Murphy, First Lady of New Jersey, has been named the 2020 Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Awardee by the Rutgers School of Public Health. She will also serve as the school’s speaker at their 35th graduation ceremony.

Hailed as the School of Public Health’s highest honor, the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Award was established in 2001 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to public health through a significant record of advocacy, program development, and capacity building; leading to expanded research, education, and service opportunities.

The First Lady exemplifies these ideals through her tireless efforts to improve the health and well-being of all New Jerseyans, through initiatives focused on maternal and infant health, K-12 climate change education, and fostering women-owned businesses.

Nurture NJ is the First Lady’s statewide awareness campaign that is committed to reducing infant and maternal mortality by 50 percent over five years and ensuring equity in care and in outcomes for mothers and infants of all ethnic groups. The campaign, which is devoted to serving every mother, baby, and family, includes a multi-pronged, multi-agency approach to improve maternal and infant health among New Jersey women and children.

As a charter member of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Action Fund, the First Lady is committed to tackling the climate crisis and positioning New Jersey as a national leader for clean energy by galvanizing the state’s youth through her Climate Change Education initiative. With the support of the New Jersey Department of Education, the initiative is actively working to incorporate climate change education into science, art, math, social studies, and other educational sectors, preparing children to combat the climate crisis and thrive in the future green economy.

In partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the First Lady is also utilizing her experience in finance to launch a New Jersey chapter of Golden Seeds, a nationwide angel investor network dedicated to investing in women-led startup companies. By investing in female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses, New Jersey is recognizing the value of women in business and demonstrating the impact women can make when they are autonomous, healthy, and financially independent.

“The public health initiatives inspired and directed by Tammy Snyder Murphy exemplify her commitment to the health of all people and populations in New Jersey,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health. “Importantly, she is investing her intelligence, skills, passion, and experience to ensure the health of people locally, domestically, and globally and is directed by the same two tenets that also define our school: social justice and health equity.”   

“A career in Public Health is one spent in service to others, and now, more than ever, the world needs the brilliant and dedicated minds of the women and men of Rutgers University,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “At a time when our state is facing a maternal and infant health crisis and the world is facing the spread of the novel coronavirus, we are incredibly grateful for the individuals who commit their lives to the health and welfare of their communities. It is my privilege and honor to deliver this year’s Rutgers School of Public Health graduation address and I look forward to meeting New Jersey’s next generation of public health leaders.”

First Lady Tammy Murphy will be honored with the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Award on Friday, May 15, 2020, at the Rutgers School of Public Health’s annual graduation ceremony, where she will deliver an address to graduates, faculty, and guests. 

Prior award recipients include Mark Wade, director of the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness, Shelley A. Hearne, principal investigator for CityHealth and senior advisor to the Big Cities Health Coalition, and Abdul El-Sayed, doctor and civil servant.



The Rutgers School of Public Health is New Jersey’s leading academic institution in public health that is committed to advancing health and wellbeing and preventing disease throughout New Jersey, the United States, and the world, by preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners; conducting public health research and scholarship; engaging collaboratively with communities and populations; and actively advocating for policies, programs, and services through the lens of equity and social justice. Learn how the Rutgers School of Public Health is "keeping the ‘public’ in public health,” by visiting them at  



Born in 1965, Tammy Snyder Murphy is a native of Virginia and a graduate of the University of Virginia (B.A., English and Communications, 1987). She and her family reside in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Tammy and New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy have been married for 25 years and together have four children: Josh, Emma, Charlie, and Sam. A transformative experience for the Murphy family was proudly representing the United States in the Federal Republic of Germany from 2009 to 2013. Tammy, individually and together with her husband, spoke and led on behalf of the United States of America. She chaired meetings, gave speeches, and hosted meals and receptions, strengthening our nation’s relationship with a critical ally while impacting the lives of thousands of Germans and Americans.

Upon returning to New Jersey, Tammy and Phil realized that the incredible state they call home needed bold new leadership. Together, they founded a think tank to explore ways to help grow the middle class and jumpstart New Jersey’s economy. During the campaign, transition, and now as First Lady, Tammy has been energized and inspired traveling the state and meeting New Jerseyans to hear their concerns, utilizing her experience in the private and nonprofit sectors to work through policy ideas and solutions.

Learn more about Tammy Snyder Murphy