Dr. Pamela Pugh was born in Newton, MS and at the age of one year old, her family moved to the Great Lakes Bay region where she lived in Carrolton, Michigan. At the age of 15 years old her family moved to the City of Saginaw.
Pamela brings 25 years of invaluable experience as a public health expert and a dedicated advocate for environmental justice. Her career has been marked by transformative achievements and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Michigan residents.
During her fourteen-year tenure at the Saginaw County Health Department, Dr. Pugh distinguished herself by forging effective partnerships with community organizations, faith-based groups, academia, policymakers, and local and state government. Through these collaborations, she secured millions in funding to tackle critical environmental health and health equity issues. Notably, Dr. Pugh played a pivotal role in the fight against childhood lead poisoning in Michigan, successfully reducing elevated blood lead levels in Saginaw children.
Dr. Pugh’s resolute dedication to justice and freedom is evident in her unwavering support for communities in need. As the Chief Public Health Advisor, she stood alongside the residents of Flint during one of the worst man-made water crises in recent history. As a state official, she stood alongside Detroit schoolchildren in the Right to Literacy Lawsuit, urging the State to guarantee students’ fundamental right to an education with access to teachers, books, and schools that are not crumbling. Dr. Pugh is recognized as a prominent leader who fearlessly champions social justice causes.
Pamela attended Saginaw High School and received both a Doctor of Public Health and Master of Science from the University of Michigan after earning her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Florida A&M University, Florida’s only publicly-funded Historically Black College and University. Driven by her commitment to public service, her journey as an engineer, scientist, and researcher to the president of the Michigan State Board of Education exemplifies her unwavering commitment to fighting for the people.
Dr. Pugh’s outstanding contributions have garnered national recognition, including two Dr. Montague Cobb Awards from the NAACP for her achievements in social justice, health education and promotion, fundraising, and research. She remains dedicated to advocating for underfunded communities and addressing exposure risks, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Pamela Pugh has a deep-rooted belief in standing up for the people, fighting for our democracy, our children, and our future. She is passionate about fostering the participation of young adults and women in the political process, having held leadership positions in organizations such as the National Federation of Democratic Women and the Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus. Dr. Pugh has actively organized conferences and roundtables on critical issues, including women’s rights, climate, energy, and the environment.
Dr. Pugh's lifelong mission is to bring people together to confront our most pressing challenges. From safeguarding a woman’s right to choose to advocating for genuine economic security for Michigan’s workers, and from combating the climate crisis to ensuring every child’s access to a quality education.
Dr. Pamela Pugh is a resident of Saginaw and a proud member of the World Outreach Campus Church of God in Christ, under the leadership of Bishop Hurley Coleman, Jr. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Dr. Pamela Pugh serves as the President of the Michigan State Board of Education which is a statewide elected position. Use of her duly elected title and photographs related to the position do not imply endorsement of the Michigan State Board of Education or any entity affiliated.