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Events & Highlights

Health Beyond Medicine: Field Guide for Evidence-based Community Health Projects

Director of the Hoekelman Center, Dr. Aligne, has published a book, Health Beyond Medicine: Field Guide for Evidence-based Community Health Projects, to help others develop skills for implementing effective, evidence-based community health action locally and globally. Topics in this guide include: addressing social determinants of health; partnering with community organizations; predicting health impact of interventions; self-awareness of the culture of medicine; project design and management; evaluation on a shoestring; public speaking, talking to the media and other communications; legislative advocacy and “changing the world” in an hour a month; sustainability beyond grant-writing; behavior change.

Let us know if you would like a printed copy! 

Promoting Physical Fitness Opportunities for All Children, Wednesday March 6th, 2024

Register here to join us for the 24th annual Anne E. Dyson Memorial Grand Rounds and Community Health Symposium!

Right to read

A FREE Screening of The Right to Read

"The Right to Read" shared the stories of an NAACP activist, a teacher, and two American families who fight to provide our youngest generation with the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read.

Annual ReportHoekelman Center 2022 Annual Report

See what the Hoekelman Center has been up to this last year from our most recent Hoekelman Center Annual Report!


Dolly Parton Imagination Library Teams up with Rochester City Schools!

Dr. Matt Present and the Rochester Chapter of Dolly Parton Imagination Library has teamed up with Rochester City Schools to increase the number of kids enrolled to receive free books monthly up until age 5. Check out the story here!

Imagination lib

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Expanded in Rochester!

Congratulations to Dr. Matt Present who celebrated last week the expansion of the Rochester Chapter of Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a free service which sends books monthly in the mail to kids ages 0-5. Learn more about the program here!

ColonColon Cancer Screenings at the Lilac Festival!

CARE resident Dr. Tori Mattick partnered with Community Outreach, Engagement and Disparitities at the Wilmot Cancer Institute to spread the word on important colon cancer screenings to reduce the disparities of screening rates in the local "Latinx" population. She can be seen all over Rochester this summer at various festivals with the giant inflatable colon.

Grants for Hydroponics!


Congratulations for Drs. Alina Von Korff, Jimmy Barry and Nneka Ogbutor on receiving the AAP Catch Grant to help fund their community project. They will also be working as a partner with Cameron Community Ministries and the Cornell Cooperative Extension on a community grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to create indoor hydroponic garden projects that promote healthy eating while teaching STEM to youth.

2022 PAS Meeting

Andy CO

Congratulations to Dr. Andy Aligne, M.P.H. and medical student Tiffany Mei on having posters accepted at the most recent PAS meeting in Colorado. Tiffany worked with Hoekelman Center during her year out and presented, "A Visit to the Pediatrician as a Part of Comprehensive Prenatal Care? A survey of obstetrics providers". Dr. Aligne presented, "Lost lessons of the 1918 influenza: the 1920s working hypothesis, the public health paradigm, and the prevention of deadly pandemics."

2022 - Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award!

Satcher Award

Congratulations to Hoekelman Center's Community Liaison, Kelly McDermott for receiving the Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award from the Center for Community Health & Prevention. Kelly McDermott plays an integral role in pediatric resident physicians’ Community health and Advocacy Resident Education (CARE) Track. She collaborates with a variety of community-based organizations, connecting them with residents for new project partnerships. Kelly also has helped develop a new function of the Center that will turn more CARE projects into sustainable programs for the Greater Rochester community.

21 Day Racial Equity Challenge

Racial Equity Challenge

During Black History Month CARE residents Dr. Michele Sainvil and Dr. Terace Thomas worked in collaboration with other residents, staff and faculty to create the University's 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge. This was inspired by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr.'s similar habit building challenge and is intended as a self-guided learning tool for all URMC students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff who are all at different stages and levels of familiarity with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. You can check out the full 21 day challenge here!

Congratulations Dr. Ogbutor!


CARE Resident Dr. Nneka Ogbutor was awarded the National Med-Peds Resident Association Advocacy/Community Service grant. This award was given for her work with Dr. Alina Von-Korff and Dr. James Barry to create hydroponic farms in partnership with local Community Based Organizations that promote healthy eating.

Congratulations Dr. Tsai!

Dr. Peihsuan Tsai received an award from the National Med- Peds Residents Association for her CARE project. She is working with Humans for Education to decrease stigma about sustainable feminine hygiene products.


2021 Janice Lynn Cohen Symposium


The annual Janice Lynn Cohen Symposium sponsored by Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry was held on September 29, 2021 with the help of many partners in the community including the Hoekelman Center Manager Rosa Lloyd. The topic: COVID-19 Ripple Effect: The Impact of Racial and Social Injustice on Our Young People brought together a diverse group of physicians, faith and community leaders, educators, and youth had an enlightening conversation about youth and discussed solutions to address the pandemic’s effect on youth in our communities. Recording of symposium can be found at

Partnership Featured in Raising A Reader Promising Practices


Dr. Bryan Weed has partnered with the Monroe County Library System to increase literacy tools in patients' homes by giving away Raising A Reader bags through the Golisano Children's Hospital Pediatric Practice. Check out this work along with other collaborations for literacy in Rochester which were recognized by Raising A Reader!

Quotes from families who received the bags

  • “She’s a lot more confident with her letters. She hasn’t gotten a chance to go to preschool yet but I feel she’s more ready for kindergarten!
  • “He finds ways to use all of the toys in the packet. Keep doing it; it works! He’s trying to read letters now and never did that before.”
  • “The other kids played with it too! My kids needed new books, especially with being stuck at home.”

2021 - Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award

Laura Jean Shipley
Dr. Laura Jean Shipley

Jeffrey Kaczorowski
Jeffrey Kaczorowski

Congratulations to Dr. Laura Jean Shipley and Dr. Jeffrey Kaczorowski on their achievement of the Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award. This award recognizes University of Rochester Medical Center faculty and staff for their significant contributions to the health of the community. Congratulations to Dr. Marc Lavender, Director of Pediatrics Links with the Community for his role as a community partner in this award.

CARE Residents Receive the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Scholarship


Three CARE projects were chosen for the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Scholars Program which will help scholars acquire skills to advocate for policy level change addressing health inequity and its impact on groups historically underrepresented in medicine. They will be expected to present their work at both regional and national meetings.

  • Terace Thomas, M.D. (CARE resident) – enhancing successful transition to adulthood for youth aging out of foster care
  • Matthew Present, M.D. (CARE resident) – increasing school readiness for youth ages 0-5 by building home libraries for children and families
  • Jennifer Baxter, D.O. (CARE resident) – supporting breastfeeding for families of color

Helping Asylum SeekersNYTimes

This is a success story of Rochester Human Rights Initiative, a new medical student-run clinic for asylum seekers. Dr. Andrew Sherman, who teaches Global Health with the Hoekelman Center, has been mentoring this group and is the person referred to in the Times article as "a pediatrician." The family in the story successfully gained U.S. entry with the help of remote medical interviewing.

Rochester Thriving Forward
Dyson Day 2021

Sarah and Megan Thank you so much to all who attended the 21st Annual Anne E. Dyson Memorial Grand Rounds & Child Advocacy Forum where we celebrated the resilience of community partners and Hoekelman Center CARE projects with the hosts of the Thriving Forward Podcast, Dr. Sarah Collins-McGowan, and Dr. Megan Callanan Lasaponara.

  • Puberty Education: Dr. Karina Vattana partnered with Atashia Walker from the City of Rochester and Jennifer Quick from Metro Council for Teen Potential to increase access to age-appropriate, accurate puberty education.
  • Vaccine Hesitancy in the Plain Community: Dr. Tyler Stephen partnered with local Mennonites and Sara Christensen, Deputy Director from the Yates Public Health Department to open a dialogue on Vaccines in their community.

Annual Report2020 Annual Report

Learn more about what the Hoekelman Center has been up to this last year from our most recent 2020 Annual Report!

LARC Initiative Interview with Jennifer Johnson

Dr. Kate Greenberg and Hoekelman Center Director Dr. Andy Aligne, interview by Jennifer Johnson about LARC

Birth Control Initiative Successfully Reaches Rochester Teens

Check out Dr. Kate Greenberg and Director of the Hoekelman Center Dr. Andy Aligne being interviewed by Jennifer Johnson on their success with the LARC Initiative which offers education on Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) to adults who talk to teens both in community and healthcare settings, to prepare them to have discussions with teens about unintended pregnancy prevention and birth control. "Impact of the Rochester LARC Initiative on adolescents’ utilization of long-acting reversible contraception" has been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Change Maker Karina Vattana, MD


CARE resident Karina Vattana, MD was nominated for the Rochester Museum and Science Center's new exhibit "The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World." This nomination was in part due to her CARE project work with the City of Rochester and Metro Council for Teen Potential to increase access to age-appropriate, accurate puberty education.

Award from the Rochester Academy of Medicine


The Hoekelman Center was honored to receive the Current Health Care Crisis Award from the Rochester Academy of Medicine for the LARC Impact paper. This award is given for the paper that best addresses an ongoing local/regional/national Health Care Crisis/Challenge. Given for the best paper pertaining to community/public health and/or preventive medicine.

PLC Award to Mary Cariola

Mary Cariola

Mary Cariola was presented with the 2020 Pediatric Links with the Community Advocacy Award for outstanding teaching and excellence in caring for the children of Rochester. This award is given by the residents in the PLC program each year. Thank you to Mary Cariola for providing excellent care and support to not only individuals who are medically fragile or living with the daily challenges of autism, cognitive delays, physical disabilities, or rare genetic syndromes, but to their families as well. You mean so much to this community!

White Coats for Black Lives

White Coats for Black Lives

CARE Residents Drs. Mofiyin Obadina and Michele Sainvil helped to organize the White Coats for Black Lives demonstration at URMC. The initiative aims to raise awareness surrounding the public health crisis of systemic racism. "We know this institution has the power to effect change," said Dr. Mofiyin Obadina, "We saw it three months ago, when they changed everything for COVID."

Dr. Obadina and Dr. Sainvil along with other resident colleagues will continue to advocate around this issue working with local partners as well as the youth in our community.

Thankful for Crock-pots!Crock Pot

"I just like to say 'thank you' to all the people who made it possible for us women at the YWCA to receive these Crock-pots! I am grateful & very thankful to know that there are people out there who know we are here & that every contribution made to the YWCA helps us immensely! So again thank you & God bless you all." 

Dr. Joshua Noel received a glowing testimonial for his CARE project working with the YWCA to reduce barriers to healthy home cooking by supplying families with crock-pots, recipes ;and other necessary cooking items.


Andy Aligne on Connections

Evan Dawson

Director of the Hoekelman Center, Andy Aligne, M.D., M.P.H., was invited to speak on WXXI's program Connections with Evan Dawson regarding coronavirus and population density. Check it out! "Coronavirus and Population Density"


Sex MeDucation


CARE alum Olga Varechtchouk created a website to help kids learn about their sexual health, take control of their bodies, and feel empowered by their options. Check it out here! Also, Congratulations to Katrina Vattana, M.D. for having her op-ed "Sex Ed Will Protect Our Youth" published in the CITY Newspaper which advocates for Comprehensive Sexuality Education in NYS public schools.

Letter to the Editor

Sex Ed Mofi

CARE Resident Mofiyin Obadina, M.D. had an op-ed published in the Democrat & Chronicle on Sunday February 23rd, 2020. The article titled, "Better sex education needed" brings attention to the gap in New York State's public education system. Dr. Obadina is advocating for passing legislation that has been introduced in Albany(bill A6512/S4844) which would make it mandatory for public schools to include comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically accurate sexual education from grades K-12.

Strong Kids Issue LARCLARC Initiative in Strong Kids News

The LARC Initiative has been featured in this issue of Strong Kids UR Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital News, 2020 Volume one, page 12.

Learn how the LARC Initiative team has contributed to reducing unintended teen pregnancy in Rochester!

Impact of the LARC Initiative Published!

Impact of the Rochester LARC Initiative on adolescents' utilization of long-acting reversible contraception has been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology!‚Äč

LARC Paper title

20th Annual Dyson Day

20th Annual Dyson Day Logo

This year's Grand Rounds speakers will be CARE Track graduates, Sara Horstmann, M.D. and Geoffrey Collins, M.D. Their topic will be "The Social Determinants of Health: What should we do about them, and how does one teach that?"

Hoekelman Center Annual Report

sandy and friends

Learn more about what the Hoekelman Center has been up to this last year from our most recent 2019 Annual Report!

Dr. Aligne on Thriving Forward Podcast


Director of the Hoekelman Center, Andy Aligne, M.D., M.P.H., was interviewed on the new podcast Thriving Forward. The creators of the podcast, Megan Callanan Lasaponara, M.D., and Sarah Collins-McGowan, M.D., are local pediatricians who speak with people involved in good works and projects in the Greater Rochester Area. If you're interested in getting involved you can contact them at

Rosa Wims' 34th Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Annual Rosa Wims Community Thanksgiving Dinner photo

Pictured left to right: William Hardy, M.D., John Ferraro, Rosa Wims, Rosa Lloyd, Jessica Meyer

The Hoekelman Center was honored to participate in the 34th Annual Rosa Wims' Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Doctor William Hardy, medical student Jessica Meyer and Center Manager Rosa Lloyd served food alongside John Ferraro, the son of Foodlink's founder Tom Ferraro. The meal was largely prepared by Foodlink and Apprentices from the Foodlink Career Fellowship Program. Read more about the day here!

Safe Sleep

October is Baby Safe Sleep Month!

From 2007-2019 over 100 babies in Monroe County have died because of unsafe sleep conditions. CARE Residents Meg McLaughlin and Alex Taffany (pictured above) have been working hard with the Baby Safe Sleep Coalition to promote safe sleep in the hospital as well as at home to prevent death in healthy infants. Join us this month to promote and celebrate safe sleep! Follow @babysafesleep on Instagram and Twitter to keep up on the action!

Vaccine Forum

In partnership with the Yates County Public Health Department, CARE Resident, Tyler Stephen helped to coordinate two forums in Penn Yan to discuss vaccines in the Mennonite community.

Pictured from left to right:
Geoffrey Weinberg, M.D., Tyler Stephen, M.D., Elizabeth Murray, M.D., Sara Christensen, R.N., B.S.N.

Vaccine Forum

The 2019 PLC Award Goes to Foodlink!

Foodlink was presented with the 2019 Pediatric Links with the Community Advocacy Award for outstanding teaching and excellence in caring for the children of Rochester. This award is given by the residents in the PLC program each year. Thank you to Foodlink for championing the fight against hunger and poverty and increasing access to fresh and healthy food in the Rochester community!


CARE Block 2019

CARE Block 2019 Group Photo

Thanks to all who made CARE block 2019 such a success! We are excited and energized by all the new project ideas.
Check them out here!

Congratulations Dr. Aligne!

Andrew Aligne, M.D., M.P.H. was presented with the "Ruth A. Lawrence Academic Faculty Service Award in Community Service" in recognition of working tirelessly through advocacy and community-based education to improve the public health of our at-risk populations.

Photo: Andrew Aligne, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Hoekelman Center, with Patrick Brophy, M.D., Chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Receiving Award, Director of the Hoekelman Center, Dr. Andrew Aligne, with Chair of the Department of Pediatrics Dr. Patrick Brophy.

Jessica Cranch, M.P.H.LARC Initiative in the Rochester Business Journal

Rochester Business Journal RBJ logoJessica Cranch, M.P.H., the Hoekelman Center's Health Project Coordinator for the LARC Initiative was interviewed in the RBJ!
Check out the article here.

Congratulations Dr. Lavender!

Marc Lavender, M.D., FAAP received the Satcher Community Health Improvement Award (Junior Faculty category) for his role as Pediatric Links with the Community Director. Pictured from left to right: former Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Marc Lavender, M.D., Jackie Dozier of Trillium Health and Dwayne Mahoney of the Boys and Girls Club are recognized for opening their doors to teach young health professionals about the importance of collaboration in reducing health inequalities and improving our communities’ health.

We'd also like to congratulate the Senior Faculty Awardee Jill S. Halterman, M.D., M.P.H. To learn more about Dr. Lavender's work in the community, check out this video!

2019 Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards

From left: Former Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., Marc Lavender, M.D., Jackie Dozier of Trillium Health and Dwayne Mahoney of the Boys and Girls Club.

Dyson Day Speaker Op-Ed in the D&CCarol St. George photo

Dr. Carol St. George was published in the Democrat and Chronicle on Friday March 15th. She writes about her successful program Project READ which shows significantly improved reading levels of participating first grade students from School #33 in Rochester, NY.

Link to Video of Dyson Day 2019Dyson Day on News 8!

Dyson Day was a huge success with over 100 people coming out to learn from Dr. Carol St. George about the importance of literacy and a program in Rochester that is helping kids to read at grade level.
Check out the News 8 coverage here!

LARC in the News!

Check out Dr. Shivani Sockanathan of Highland Family Medicine discussing LARC on 8 WROC-TV!

Dyson Day 2019

The 19th Annual Anne E. Dyson Memorial Grand Rounds and Child Advocacy Forum was on Wednesday March 6th, 2019. Participants heard stories from Carol St. George Director of the literacy teacher education program at the Warner School and her graduate students about a successful program in the Rochester City School District for reading instruction. The Forum focused on understanding what the evidence tells us about the controversial subject of how to teach children to read. The event was followed by a poster session showcasing our young physicians' projects in the community.

Congratulations Jessica Cranch!

LARC Initiative Health Project Coordinator Jessica Cranch received a Master's in Public Health from the University of Rochester. All her hard work and dedication has paid off and we look forward to watching her success in the future!

Rosetta Stone at Literacy Volunteers of Rochester

The Hoekelman Center was proud to represent Dr. Olga Varechtchouk at the ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling a new tutor room at Literacy Volunteers of Rochester in partnership with a learning grant from Spectrum. The room, equipped with new work stations and laptops as well as smart technology for instruction, was enhanced by a donation from Dr. Varechtchouk of four laptops installed with Rosetta Stone to strengthen the learner's ability to read and speak English.

Hoekelman Center - Literacy station

New laptops installed with Rosetta Stone Software

Senator Joseph Robach with Kelly McDermott Community Liaison, Hoekelman

Senator Joseph Robach with Kelly McDermott Community Liaison from the Hoekelman Center

Rosa Wims' Annual Thanksgiving Dinner

Rosa Wims

The Hoekelman Center was happy to participate in the 33rd annual Mama Rosa's Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner event on Veterans Day. The team accompanied by Dr. Wib Beachy, served over 100 meals donated by Foodlink in the Montgomery Neighborhood Center.

Stay True To You

Stay True to You

"Stay True to You" is a community impact media campaign focused on reducing unintended pregnancy supported by a grant from the Wilson Foundation. For nearly two years, the Hoekelman Center has worked with Causewave Community Partners and a dozen other community partners to inform, design, and test this initiative with the dedicated help of professional advertising experts. For more information visit

Pediatric Links with the Community Award

Boys and Girls Club

Director of Pediatric Links with the Community Dr. Marc Lavender with Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester Dwayne Mahoney

The Hoekelman Center was pleased to present the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester with the 2018 Pediatric Links with the Community Advocacy Award for outstanding teaching and excellence in caring for the children of Rochester. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester provide youth development programs that enable young people to acquire the skills and qualities needed to become responsible citizens and leaders. Thank you for all you do for the community!

Letter to the Editor

Dr. Varechtchouk

Resident Dr. Olga Varechtchouk

CARE Track Resident Dr. Olga Varechtchouk was published in the Democrat and Chronicle on Saturday August 25th. This essay is a personal story illustrating the flaws surrounding "Public Charge" which makes it more difficult for legal immigrants to obtain green cards or citizenship if they require or have ever required public benefits. Read the full article here!

Advocating for Advocacy

Drs. Caroline Kirby, Catherine Glatz, Margaret Connolly and Michelle Cook organized a lecture series to engage more students and residents in advocacy.

  • December 14th, 12:00 p.m. Stan Schaffer on the topic of Lead
Crisis Nursery

Crisis Nursery of Greater Rochester with Dr. Catie Glatz, Dr. Michelle Cook and Dr. Caroline Kirby presenting at noon conference.

CARE Resident Presents at the North American Refugee Health Conference

CARE Track resident Dr. Sarah Ventre presented her project at the North American Refugee Health Conference in Portland, Oregon this year. The goal of her project is to increase access to high quality early childhood education among refugee children in Rochester through development of a partnership between local Head Start organizations and refugee resettlement agencies using a national model for this effort from the organization PEACE, Inc. in Syracuse, New York. If you would like to learn more about her project click here!

Dr. Sarah Ventre presenting at The North American Refugee Health Conference

Dr. Sarah Ventre presenting at The North American Refugee Health Conference

Mirror Lake in Portland, Oregon

Mirror Lake in Portland, Oregon

Good News! Verwey to receive a resident national grant award

Dr. Adriana Verwey has been selected to receive a resident national grant award. Her CARE project aligns very well with the goals of the program, which is called: Inclusive Health Grants: Supporting Healthy Weight for Children with Intellectual Disabilities sponsored by the AAP Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight with support from Special Olympics. This is a great win for Dr. Verwey who will be promoting community health by developing an inclusive physical fitness resource map to share with the community and doctors who may be referring patients and families to these resources. Congratulations Dr. Verwey!

Dr. Verwey at poster presentation

Dr. Adriana Verwey

CARE Projects Featured at Local Event

CARE Resident Francis Coyne, M.D. and CARE alumna Megan Lasaponara, M.D. (Director of Kids Thrive 585) presented at Social Determinants of Health: Linking Healthcare to the Community Synergy. They joined speakers from NYC and around Rochester discussing their experiences working to screen patients for non-medical factors that affect health, such as homelessness, unemployment, etc. Understanding how to identify these social determinants of health and how to connect people with effective community resources to help them is of increasing interest for moving toward population health.

Dr. Lasaponara presenting

Megan Lasaponara, M.D., Director of Kids Thrive 585, presenting at local event.

Walkout Organized by CARE Resident

Congratulations to CARE Resident Dr. Alexi Bulloch in organizing the #walkout for the University of Rochester’s students and staff. About 150 people turned out in front of the Golisano Children’s Hospital at URMC despite the wind and snow. They took part in seventeen minutes of silence to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting and support the students across the nation in their efforts. Dr. Bulloch was quoted at length in the Democrat and Chronicle two days in a row! Her main point was that gun violence is a public health issue.

2018 Walkout for Gun Safety - CARE

Walkout for Gun Safety - CARE. 2018 Photo courtesy of Dr. Stephen R. Cook

Congratulations to Jeff Kaczorowski

Congratulations to Jeff Kaczorowski, co-founder of Pediatric Links with the Community (PLC), who will serve as vice-chair of a new state initiative that focuses on improving health and educational outcomes in the first three years of a child's life.

Congratulations Steven Schulz!

WXXI’s Connections with Evan Dawson recently did a show on Geneva 2020, a community-wide initiative aimed at increasing educational success for all of the city’s students. CARE Track alumnus Steven Schulz is mentioned by name at minute 32 with regards to his early child development and literacy-promotion efforts. Success is implementing the PACE screen for Kindergartners as a part of the Geneva 2020 coalition. Congratulations Steven!

Past Events