In Memoriam: Margaret (Peggy) Walsh

Margaret (Peggy) Walsh, a renowned dental hygienist, tobacco control expert, and professor at the UCSF Dental School died January 23, 2016 at the age of 69 after a courageous three year battle against her illness. Peggy was a tireless crusader on behalf of reducing the use of oral tobacco products in order to improve oral health, receiving many grants for educational interventions and participating in spring training education and oral examinations of baseball players. For the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center Peggy was instrumental in forging our first professional partnership—with the American Dental Hygienists Association—from which emerged the then novel but now established “Ask, Advise, Refer” pathway as a route to refer smokers to telephonic quitlines. Peggy was unfailingly cheerful, industrious, courteous, and professional. I can attest that her students adored her, because when my own dental hygienist—herself a UCSF—graduate, learned that I worked with Peggy I was transformed from an ordinary patient into a dental VIP. At every visit my hygienist asked about Dr. Walsh, and—like our staff at the SCLC—she is heartbroken at the premature death of this lovely person. It should come as no surprise to those who knew her that Peggy came to work almost until the time of her death, and that she faced her disease with grace and courage. It was an honor to know her and to work with her, and she will be greatly missed.