Maxine Hayes has dedicated her life to teaching and public service, focusing her efforts on disease prevention. "We could save time and work more efficiently in health care if we put more focus on actually preventing diseases, rather than only treating them." She has received numerous awards for her accomplishments, including the prestigious public health award from American Medical Association, the 2002 Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.
Maxine Hayes earned her bachelor's degree in biology at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, after two years as a Merrill Fellow at the University of Vienna, Austria. After graduating from Spelman with honors, she attended the State University of New York School of Medicine in Buffalo. Her post-graduate training was in pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, and at the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a Master of Public Health degree at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Dr. Hayes also worked as a consultant to Project COPE, a program sponsored by the University of Massachusetts at Worcester to offer pediatric health care information to mothers of infants born in prison.
Dr. Hayes took a teaching position at the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1977, and, from 1978, also served on the Center for Disease Control's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.
In 1985, she joined the faculty of the University of Washington School of Medicine, and she became medical director of the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, which serves a predominantly low-income population in central Seattle. She was also appointed to the Physician's Task Force on Hunger in America, alongside many prominent physicians, health experts, academic, and religious leaders.
Dr. Hayes has worked for the Washington State Department of Health since 1988 and was appointed State Health Officer in 1988. She works closely with local health officials and the medical community statewide, and advises the governor and the state's Secretary of Health on health emergency responses, prevention of childhood diseases, and other public health issues. At the University of Washington, she continues to educate the next generation of health care professionals as an Associate Professor at the School of Public and Community Medicine, and as a faculty member of the Department of Maternal-Child Health in the School of Public Health.