The sixth annual Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards were presented Thursday by the University of Rochester Medical Center's Center for Community Health in the Class of ’62 Auditorium.
The awards are named in honor of the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, who completed his medical residency at URMC in 1972 and received an honorary degree from the University in 1995. Satcher went on to become a leading voice in the field of public health and has dedicated his career to public health policy.
The annual grand rounds address was delivered this year by Satcher himself. His talk, titled "The Role of Leadership in the Relay Race for Health Equity," preceded the awards ceremony.
The community health improvement awards distinguish individuals who have made significant contributions to community health in the greater Rochester region through research, education, clinical services and outreach efforts. The awards reflect the Medical Center’s mission to continue to develop and expand university-community partnerships that support participatory research and interventions that reduce health inequalities and improve the community’s health.
The Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards recipients for 2015:
Michael C. Keefer, M.D., is a professor of Medicine, director of the University’s NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Unit, co-principal investigator for the UR’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and a leader within the international HIV Vaccine Trials Network. During his 27 years as head of the Vaccine Trials Unit, he has become a unifying force who believes in the involvement of the community to ensure that participation in research represents the racial and ethnic diversity of the community.
As principal investigator for the University’s HIV Vaccine Clinical Research Site, Keefer has shown extraordinary leadership by taking the prevention message beyond the walls of the institution and bringing it, with partner organizations such as Trillium Health, MOCHA and the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, into the community. Keefer’s guidance has changed the perception of clinical trials, reaching out to groups such as African American faith leaders and individuals who are at high-risk for contracting HIV, to connect with populations that have traditionally not been a part of research efforts.
Keefer also is committed to mentoring medical students through the UR Community Health Improvement Mentorship Program Clerkship and in the HVTN Research and Mentorship Program available to minority medical students. As part of his CFAR role, he mentors young investigators on research science, directs the CFAR mentoring program, and has been a guiding force behind CFAR’s Clinical and Translational Sciences program.
The work of Amina P. Alio, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, focuses on reducing health inequalities in communities.
Alio has made significant contributions to several key local initiatives, such as work with the African American Health Task Force, a project with Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency that assesses the experience of discrimination based on race, gender, age, and other factors. She has collaborated with community organizations, including the Mental Health Association, to replicate the Prime Time Sister Circle project, an intervention program that uses a culture-, gender- and age-specific curriculum to help African American women find support to make lifestyle changes. Alio also works with the UR’s HIV Vaccine Trials Unit and the local faith community to increase volunteer recruitment for clinical studies. She is co-chair of the Rochester Faith Collaborative, is a member of the Medical Committee of the local Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, and serves as a departmental liaison to the UR’s Diversity Committee.
Nationally, Alio is recognized for collaborating work with the National Healthy Start Association in the area of paternal involvement during and after pregnancy.
Precious Bedell, M.A., of the Department of Psychiatry is a project health counselor and community health care worker for the Women's Initiative Supporting Health program, a nationally funded research and clinical program that links recently incarcerated and other justice-involved women with much-needed medical and mental health care. Using motivational strategies grounded in UR-developed self-determination theory, she works with women referred to WISH, as well as those to whom she reaches out at local transitional houses and justice settings.
Outside of her UR role, Bedell founded and directs Turning Points, a program to support family members of incarcerated individuals that integrates her community work with the URMC model of family-centered care. As a liaison between URMC and the community, she has built strong relationships with community individuals and organizations. She is involved in a community initiative addressing racial bias in the justice system, and represents the University as a member of the “Facing Race Embracing Equity” committee that addresses health disparities.