Three individuals were honored today with the ninth annual Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards, presented by the Center for Community Health & Prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The noon event in the Helen Wood Hall auditorium (1W304) featured a special grand rounds delivered by David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D, the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, for whom the awards are named.
Satcher addressed the opioid crisis in his talk, “Confronting Mental Health Disparities and Stigma: Challenges and Opportunities.” Immediately following there was a panel discussion among the awardees addressing the “Rewards and Challenges of Community Engaged Research.”
Each year, the awards distinguish individuals who have made significant contributions to community health in the greater Rochester region through research, education, clinical services and service efforts. They are named in honor of Satcher, who completed his medical residency at URMC in 1972, received an honorary degree from the University in 1995, and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2014. For two decades, he has served as an advisor to the medical center to move forward its community health mission to reduce health inequities and improve health.
“The community partners with whom our award recipients have collaborated work tirelessly to improve the health of our community, and the University is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their initiatives,” said Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., M.S., director of the Center for Community Health & Prevention.
Awards recipients for 2018 are:
Senior Faculty Award
Silvia Sörensen, Ph.D., associate professor with appointments in the University of Rochester’s Warner School, as well as URMC’s Center for Community Health and Prevention and Department of Psychiatry.
Sörensen is an advocate for developing community partnerships to promote the physical and emotional health and wellness of medically underserved populations. Sörensen serves in three departments and two schools, and is committed to furthering the well-being of the Rochester community, reducing health disparities, and developing research that focuses on community-relevant outcomes. Examples of her extensive community outreach include:
- Co-founding the Aging Well Initiative (AWI), a community-university research partnership with members of the African-American faith community that provides community experts’ input on research projects and helps with recruitment for health research.
- Implementing diabetic retinopathy screening and education services in inner city primary care clinics in Rochester for people with low health literacy, which has contributed to doubling the percent of diabetics receiving eye exams; and
- Delivering a Greater Rochester Health Foundation-funded service project (REBUILD) that addresses the significant emotional impact of vision loss on older adults in our community.
She is a sought-after community engagement consultant on a variety of projects that aim to recruit older adults from diverse backgrounds, and a respected mentor for fellows, interns, and the faith community.
Junior Faculty Award
Tiffany Pulcino, M.D., M.P.H., is an assistant professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Medicine/Primary Care at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Pulcino currently serves as medical director for both the UR Medicine Complex Care Center and URMC DSRIP and AHP, and is clinic director of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Leadership Initiative. She specializes in the care of adults with pediatric onset conditions and has launched projects related to this specialization, such as aligning with a statewide Medicaid delivery reform, working with Eastman Institute for Oral Health on interdisciplinary education and improved access to care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and serving on the Sickle Cell Action Committee to reform regional access to care for this patient population. Pulcino makes a difference for her patients not only as a physician, but as an advocate across disciplines and systems.
Charles Brown’s leadership and commitment to reducing health disparities in behavioral health and addictions span over three decades. A chemical dependency counselor in the URMC Department of Psychiatry, he inspires new and lasting behavior change among individuals exhibiting behavioral risks. He also mentors new leaders while promoting health within racially and ethnically diverse faith communities, and develops cultural adaptations to help clinical, educational, research and community engagement activities reach diverse patient and community populations. To address the public health epidemic of opioid overdose and assist people with opioid addictions in maintaining sobriety, he volunteers tirelessly to help those leaving incarceration connect with sobriety services and free groups (e.g., Northside, a faith-based program he runs), provides support for other community programs, and engages with law enforcement partners. In his community outreach, he is an effective facilitator of interdisciplinary work teams and champions inclusion and diversity.