Stephen B. Sulkes, M.D., a professor at Golisano Children’s Hospital and co-director of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities, was selected as one of seven recipients of the first-ever Golisano Global Health Leadership Award. Presented by the Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics, the award was presented to Sulkes at a ceremony Sunday, March 19 in Schladming, Austria, at the 2017 Special Olympics Winter World Games.
Sulkes was recognized for founding the Rochester student chapter of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) and encouraging students to get involved with Special Olympics both through Healthy Athletes and as event volunteers and coaches. Sulkes’ work is also reflective of the unique commitment of the University of Rochester to make inclusive health a part of its strategic plan — advancing access to care in multiple arenas - from the Complex Care Center and enhanced access to oral health, to training the next generation of clinicians to care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of life, from learning to working to playing, they must be as healthy as possible,” said Sulkes. “This means that all health care providers and all the systems in which they work need to be understanding, caring, and responsive to the special needs of this population.”
The Golisano Global Health Leadership Award was established to recognize the progress being made around the world to increase access to essential health care for people with intellectual disabilities. It is Special Olympics’ highest honor for health partners.
The honorees are health champions in their countries. Their extraordinary efforts are fulfilling the goals, values, and mission of Special Olympics’ Global Health program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation. This award recognizes individual leaders and organizations that are making significant contributions to Special Olympics health programs, specifically through Healthy Communities, and promoting inclusive healthcare, wellness, and fitness for people with intellectual disabilities.
“The work we are seeing on the front lines of healthcare in villages and cities throughout the world is inspiring,” said Ann Costello, Executive Director of the Golisano Foundation. “We applaud these individuals and organizations for their game-changing work to advance inclusive health in their communities. They see the possibilities. They are focused on outcomes. We hope the Golisano Global Health Leadership Award serves as a catalyst and inspiration for more individuals and organizations to make much-needed changes in healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities.”
“These recipients have demonstrated their passion for Special Olympics athletes and their quest for achieving their personal bests on and off the field of competition,” said Mary Davis, Special Olympics CEO. “Each has played a role in breaking down barriers and changing perceptions.”
The seven global finalists were selected from 25 recipients of the 2016 regional Golisano Health Leadership Awards by a Special Olympics International cross-departmental team of Special Olympics athlete leaders, Healthy Athletes Global Clinical Advisors and a representative from the Golisano Foundation.