The Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards recognizes University of Rochester Medical Center faculty and staff for significant contributions to the health of the community through research, teaching, practice, and/or service programs.
The awards reflect the mission of the Center for Community Health & Prevention and the URMC to develop and expand community-university partnerships that support community-engaged research and interventions that reduce health inequities and improve the community's health. Awards are made based on work done in the greater Rochester area and Finger Lakes region.
The Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards are typically held in person with a keynote speaker, but this year, due to the pandemic, awardees are being recognized and sharing their commitment to community health improvement virtually.
Senior Faculty Award Winners
Susan Hetherington, Ph.D.
Recently retired; Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Education; Director, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities; University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Through research consultation, clinical services and program development at the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities, a federally-funded University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Dr. Hetherington promotes positive outcomes and full inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) throughout the lifespan.
Dr. Hetherington has worked on issues of employment, health disparities, education and recreation for people with IDD. She has conducted qualitative research on the hiring practices of businesses and partnered with the City of Rochester on a white paper on disability and employment in Rochester. Additionally, Dr. Hetherington has worked on systems level interventions to increase positive health outcomes for people with disabilities. This work includes work on two grants with NYS Department of Health to increase quality access to care for children and youth with developmental issues and special health care needs through the Early Intervention and Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs systems. Additional partnerships include the Golisano Foundation, Rochester City School District, Common Ground Health, Starbridge and YMCA, where she has worked on inclusion in education health care, employment and recreation.
Watch a video of Dr. Hetherington on her work and what receiving the award means to her.
Steven L. Barnett, M.D.
Associate Professor, Departments of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences; Director, Rochester Prevention Research Center: National Center for Deaf Health Research; University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
Dr. Barnett directs the Rochester Prevention Research Center (RPRC): National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR) and in that capacity has engaged and partnered with populations of Deaf sign language users and people with hearing loss in Rochester and nationally to collaboratively identify and address health priorities with those communities. RPRC/NCDHR and community partners conducted the first-ever broad public health surveillance in American Sign Language, called the Rochester Deaf Health Survey. This community partnered process represents the first time that a Deaf community used its own data to identify health priorities, and led to intervention research.
RPRC/NCDHR successfully conducted the first-ever randomized pragmatic trial of a healthy lifestyle program called Deaf Weight Wise. This collaborative work with Rochester Deaf communities demonstrated that an evidence-based intervention adapted by Deaf people, implemented by Deaf people, and rigorously evaluated by Deaf people, results in significant and sustained weight loss. Additionally, RPRC/NCDHR partnered with Deaf community members, Trillium Health and the New York State Department of Health to address access to walk-in HIV testing through a novel telehealth pilot program to connect via video a credentialed counselor who is Deaf with a Deaf walk-in client.
RPRC/NCDHR and the Healthy Living with Hearing Loss (HL2) Community Committee used a community-engaged process with people with hearing loss in Rochester to identify health research priorities, and are now conducting a feasibility pilot to address social determinants of health. RPRC/NCDHR is beginning its fourth consecutive 5-year award as a CDC-funded Prevention Research Center, and will conduct Deaf Weight Wise implementation research with community partners in Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse.
Watch a video of Dr. Barnett on his work and what receiving the award means to him.
Junior Faculty Award Winner
M. Mahala Schlagman, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, General Medicine Department; Director, Internal Medicine Health Equity Curriculum; Director, Medical Legal Partnership; University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
In her role as Internal Medicine Health Equity Curriculum Director, Dr. Schlagman built a team to develop a novel educational curriculum for Internal Medicine residents on the Social Determinants of Health and how they impact health equity. She also helped initiate and is the faculty mentor for the Health Equity Advocacy Team, an interdisciplinary initiative to foster resident conversations about health disparities and develop advocacy skills.
Additionally, Dr. Schlagman has been the driving force behind the formation of a medical legal partnership (MLP) in the faculty-resident internal medicine practice at Strong Memorial Hospital and the family medicine practice at Highland Hospital. MLP’s address social determinants by providing patients with free civil legal services, often removing the burden of navigating the legal system from the medical providers and freeing them to engage in direct medical care. Dr. Schlagman is part of a 12-person coalition of residents, faculty, nurses, social workers and community attorneys, contracted through a partnership with Finger Lakes Legal Care, a project of Legal Assistance of Western NY.
Watch a video of Dr. Schlagman on her work and what receiving the award means to her.
Staff Award Winner
Amali Epa-Llop, Ph.D.
Sr. Human Subject Research Coordinator; Women’s Initiative Supporting Health (WISH); University of Rochester
WISH is a clinical and research health services and implementation initiative of gender and trauma-responsive strategies to address the broad health needs of women involved in the justice system (e.g. incarceration, probation, Drug Treatment Court). WISH uses evidence-based strategies including primary medical care, peer community health workers, Self-Determination Theory and self-paced multimedia interventions. This is Dr. Epa-Llop’s second year with WISH.
In Dr. Epa-Llop’s role, she utilizes extensive community outreach. For example, WISH is currently engaged in a program called ROC with WISH that is housed at Danforth Community Center at 200 West Ave. in Rochester. The program works with community members to help integrate and manage outcomes regarding exercise, safe housing, healthy eating, substance use disorder treatment, navigating social and medical needs, and primary care.
Watch a video of Dr. Epa-Llop on her work and what meaning the award means to her.