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May 13, 2015


Medical Center honors Satcher Award recipients

The sixth annual Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards, presented by the Medical Center’s Center for Community Health, 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.

They are named in honor of the David Satcher ’72M (Res), 16th Surgeon General of the United States and a leading voice in the field of public health who 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.

Award recipients for 2015 are Michael Keefer, Amina Alio, and Precious Bedell.

Michael Keefer
Michael Keefer

Michael Keefer is professor of medicine, director of the University’s NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Unit, coprincipal investigator for the 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 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.

Amina Alio
Amina Alio

The work of Amina Alio, 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 HIV Vaccine Trials Unit and the local faith community to increase volunteer recruitment for clinical studies. She is cochair 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 University’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
Precious Bedell

Precious Bedell 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 medical and mental health care. Using motivational strategies grounded in University-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 role at Rochester, Bedell founded and directs Turning Points, a program to support family members of incarcerated individuals that integrates her community work with the Medical Center model of family-centered care. As a liaison between the Medical Center 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.

Paul Rubery, chief of the Division of Spinal Surgery, has been named chair of the Department of Orthopaedics. He had served as acting chair since September 2014 following the departure of Regis O’Keefe, who was named chief of orthopaedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Lorraine (Lorri) Strem, investigator with the Department of Public Safety, and softball player Nina Korn ’15 were honored  at the 2015 Rochester Press-Radio Club Day of Champions Dinner. Strem received the Hometown Heroes award for her efforts to bring greater awareness to the issue of domestic violence and greater support to victims and families. Korn was recognized as the Jerry Flynn Female College Athlete of the Year.

Jeremy Cushman, associate professor of emergency medicine and chief of the Division of Prehospital Medicine, has been named interim commissioner for the Monroe County Department of Health. He remains at the Medical Center and retains many of his duties and responsibilities while he temporarily fills the county role.

Jennifer Anolik, associate professor of medicine, was named a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies. Anolik, who runs the Medical Center’s lupus clinic and program, was nominated for her work conducting translational and basic science research on lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. She joins 18 other Medical Center faculty members who have been inducted into the society in the past.

John Cullen, a medical researcher and coordinator of outreach for the University’s Susan B. Anthony Center, has been named one of 25 community champions for LGBT Equality in Western New York by the Empire State Pride Agenda.

Michael Neidig, assistant professor of chemistry, has been recognized as a “rising star” by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Neidig is one of 126 U.S. and Canadian researchers selected as recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships for 2015

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