David Satcher Returns to Recognize Local Community Health Contributions

May. 3, 2023
Grand Rounds Highlights Highs and Lows of Public Health Practice

The 14th annual Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards, presented by the Center for Community Health & Prevention (CCHP) of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), honored URMC faculty and staff for their contributions to advancing community health and health equity in our region. The keynote address was presented by the awards’ namesake David Satcher, MD, PhD, an internationally-recognized and renowned champion in public health and health equity who began his medical career at URMC.

In his keynote address, Satcher, who is also the founding director and senior advisor of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, revisited the highs and lows of public health practice. About 140 community members and URMC faculty, staff, medical students, and others came together in person and on Zoom to hear Satcher’s grand rounds, and to honor the work of this year’s awardees.

“Advancing health equity has always been the critical priority for community health improvement, and the pandemic highlighted the need to address the inequities that prevent people in historically marginalized communities from having healthy lives,” said Nancy M. Bennett, MD, MS, CCHP director and co-director of the UR Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “We were delighted to welcome back Dr. Satcher as our keynote speaker. His lifetime of achievement in public health inspires us, and has significantly contributed to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health across the nation. We are also proud to be able to recognize the impactful work being done by our URMC faculty, staff, and their community partners to combat health inequities throughout the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region.”

Created in 2010, the Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards reflect the shared mission of CCHP and URMC to develop and expand University-community partnerships that support participatory research and interventions to reduce health inequities and improve the community's health.

This event is jointly organized by CCHP and the UR Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Office of Health Equity Research (OHER). New this year: The primary community partner in each award category received an honorarium provided by OHER.

2023 Award Recipients

Michael Mendoza, MD, MPH poses with his award with David Satcher, MD, PhD
Michael Mendoza, MD, MPH, accepts the Senior Faculty Award from David Satcher, MD, PhD

Senior Faculty Award

Michael D. Mendoza, MD, MPH
, is the 9th commissioner of public health for Monroe County, NY, and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

Mendoza oversees the Monroe County Department of Public Health’s diverse array of health promotion and disease preparedness efforts serving the residents of Monroe County, NY with a focus on equity and inclusion. Under his oversight of the MCDPH, vaccinating the underserved has been a high priority, mobile outreach services have expanded, a violence prevention program has been initiated, and individuals and families dealing with substance use disorder have gained access to a wider range of support services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he demonstrated outstanding leadership by decision-making that was informed equally by science and community input. Due to his consistent practice of community engagement, Mendoza was able to bring together multiple sectors in the community to achieve a well-coordinated provider response and high levels of success in COVID-19 vaccination efforts, while keeping the community well-informed.

Mendoza’s work involves collaborating with many community partners, including Willow Domestic Violence Center of Greater Rochester (primary partner), Common Ground Health, Monroe County Office of Mental Health, Foodlink, Lifespan, and administrations for Monroe County and the City of Rochester.

Andrew Cohen, PhD, David Satcher, MD, PhD, and Corey Nichols-Hadeed, JD.
Andrew Cohen, PhD, (left) and Corey Nichols-Hadeed, JD, (right) accept the Junior Faculty Award from David Satcher, MD, PhD.

Junior Faculty Award

Andrew Cohen, PhD, Allison Stiles, PhD, and Corey Nichols-Hadeed, JD, are faculty in the departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, as well as co-directors for an initiative called “EACH Youth in the RCSD,” where “EACH” stands for “Enhanced Access & Connection to Healthcare.”

EACH seeks to address the health issues of children and youth, including their behavioral and mental health needs, by providing specialty training for school teams and promoting community service collaboration. The project has partnered with 17 Rochester City School District (RCSD) schools, implemented telehealth services in nine schools, and reached nearly 10,000 students.

The awardees work closely with multiple community partners, including their primary partner – RCSD, as well as the Children's Institute, ROC the Future Alliance, and primary care practices.

Wendy Hou, DNP, RN, and Christine Maness, MS, RN, pose with David Satcher, MD, PhD.
From left: Wendy Hou, DNP, RN, and Christine Maness, MS, RN, accept the Staff Award from David Satcher, MD, PhD.

Staff Award

Wendy Hou, DNP, RN, and Christine Maness, MS, RN, are assistant directors of Pediatric Nursing at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

During the pandemic, they coordinated an interdisciplinary team, called “Little Shots, Big Protection: A Team Providing COVID-19 Vaccine for Our Community’s Children,” which seamlessly navigated numerous logistic barriers to COVID vaccination of the pediatric population. Their collaborative leadership style, adherence to the highest quality standards, organizational excellence, and responsiveness to community needs ensured equitable access to the pediatric vaccine and provided essential guidance and support to community pediatricians. A total of 2,730 pediatric vaccines were administered through 44 clinics.

Hou and Maness worked closely with their primary partner, MCDPH, and Common Ground Health.

Written by Marcia Middleton.