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Recognizing the Contributions of Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Community Members to Dornsife

collage of images from award ceremony

April 4, 2024

Each year, the Dornsife Awards celebrate and recognize the contributions of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members to the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) at Drexel University.

At a lively ceremony and reception held on campus on April 3, 2024, during National Public Health Week, the DSPH community came together to acknowledge and applaud our 2024 award recipients.

This was also an opportunity to recognize the new Delta Omega inductees.

View photo album

Below are the award descriptions and the winners:

Junior Faculty Research Award

The award recognizes a junior faculty member at the Assistant Professor rank (in any track) with a primary appointment in the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH), in recognition of scholarly activity in the field of public health. Criteria for candidates who excel in research include one or more of the following:

  • Publications/chapters/reports
  • Internal/external funding
  • Major conference presentations
  • Service as reviewer, e.g., journal, conference abstracts
  • Media coverage of research

Winners: Jaquelyn (Jackie) Jahn, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity and Leah Schinasi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health

Golden Apple Faculty Teaching Award

This award recognizes faculty for excellence in teaching. All faculty are eligible. Innovation and a commitment to pedagogical excellence are the primary criteria by which the candidates will be judged. A candidate who excels in teaching:

  • Guides and inspires students, and stimulates intellectual interest and enthusiasm
  • Displays a spirit of scholarly inquiry, which leads to developing and strengthening course content in light of developments in the field
  • Improves methods of presenting material, including creative use of technology

Winner: Jourdyn A. Lawrence, PhD, MSPH, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, and the Drexel FIRST Program

Honorable Mention: Aritra Halder, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Biostatistics

In addition, Edward Gracely, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics, and Esther Chernak, MD, MPH, FACP, Clinical Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, were both 2024 Golden Apple Award recipients at Drexel University College of Medicine, where they each have joint appointments.

Faculty Practice Award

The Faculty Practice Award recognizes faculty who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to community through direct research-to-practice collaboration, or through the provision and mentoring of Dornsife students in their APE or ILE with community partners. Collaborations with community partners should be focused on the use, adoption, and adaptation of knowledge, interventions, and products/technologies to achieve health and well-being, such as:

  • Translation of research findings into products, policy/procedure/practice
  • Dissemination and implementation of products and practices
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of efforts in improving health and well-being

Winners: Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD, Professor, Community Health & Prevention and Mariana Lazo, MD, PhD, ScM, Associate Research Professor, Community Health & Prevention

Honorable Mention: Esther Chernak, MD, MPH, FACP, Clinical Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, and Tom Hipper, MSPH, MA, Assistant Clinical Teaching Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health, both of the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

The Outstanding Teaching Award is presented to a DSPH student who served as a teaching assistant and who exhibited a strong commitment to student learning. A successful candidate for this award should have:

  • Served as a teaching assistant in a DSPH course in the past 12 months
  • Demonstrated reflective teaching practices, creative and innovative teaching methods, and academic support to their students
  • Shown leadership and a commitment to their own professional growth and development as an educator

Winner: Jessica Webster, MPH, PhD Student, Epidemiology

Outstanding Promise Student Awards

This award recognizes students who have exhibited great promise for regional or national societal impact, and accordingly, for enhancing Drexel’s reputation, now and in the future. This award is open to doctoral students, master’s students, and undergraduate students. A candidate who demonstrates outstanding promise has:

  • Demonstrated originality, creativity, and significance of work
  • Shown evidence of or potential for regional, national, or societal impact and enhancing Drexel’s reputation, now and in the future
  • Demonstrated leadership and commitment to civic responsibility

Winners: Lisa Frueh, MPH, PhD Student, Environmental & Occupational Health; Emily Brady, BSN, RN, MPH Student, Epidemiology; and Victoria Rodríguez-Villareal, BS in Public Health Student

Staff Excellence Award

This award recognizes a professional staff member who has demonstrated dedication and commitment to the school through innovation or making significant contributions. A candidate who excels in service has:

  • Demonstrated creativity or resourcefulness in accomplishing major assignments
  • Possessed outstanding administrative or technical ability
  • Exercised leadership and initiative above and beyond what is required of their role
  • Exhibited qualities such as dependability, patience, collaboration, and a positive attitude toward their job and colleagues

Winner: Jennifer Ware, MPH, Deputy Director, The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity

Public Health Practice Award for Community Preceptors

This award recognizes 2023-2024 DSPH community preceptors who have shown commitment to the school and the advancement of public health practice through the hosting of student practical experiences (practicum and CBMP), teaching and mentoring of students, overall partnership with DSPH to improve the health status of our communities.

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) has defined public health practice as “the strategic, organized, and interdisciplinary application of knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to perform essential public health services and other activities to improve the population’s health.” Distinct from service, public health practice is the application of public health scholarship, knowledge and skills to practice settings through collaboration with government entities, policy makers, community and advocacy organizations, non-governmental organizations, and health care delivery systems.

Winner: Fatuma Doka, CRNP, Founder at Tender Grassroots

New Preceptor Award

This year's New Preceptor Award recognizes a new public health preceptor who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to mentoring our students during their applied practical experiences and/or integrative learning experiences.

Winner: Rev. Christopher Heisey-Terrell, Director at Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry

Distinguished Alumni Award

This award recognizes a Drexel Dornsife alumnus who has completed a DSPH educational program and received an academic degree by the Dornsife School of Public Health and has made significant contributions throughout their career in any of the following categories: leadership, practice, teaching, research, community, or to DSPH. A successful candidate has attained recognition and respect for their accomplishments, and demonstrated strong interest and commitment to the mission, vision and values of DSPH.

Winner: Noel Ramirez, DBH, MPH '12, MSW, LCSW, BCD, Founder, Mango Tree Counseling & Consulting, LLC

Recent Alumni Award

This award recognizes an alumnus who has completed a DSPH educational program and received an academic degree in the past five years who has achieved important and promising accomplishments and has exceptional promise for future success. A successful candidate demonstrates a strong interest and commitment to the mission, vision and values of DSPH.

Winner: Kristin Roadman, MPH '23, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Illinois at Chicago

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Award

This award for 2023-2024 recognizes a DSPH team of faculty, staff and students who exemplify the school’s values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. They strive to build and nurture an institutional culture where inclusiveness is a core value and where difference is respected. They collectively foster our vision of health as a human right and advance our goals of eliminating health disparities and improving health in cities.

Winner: Latino Health Collective led by Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD, Professor, Community Health & Prevention and Mariana Lazo, MD, PhD, ScM, Associate Research Professor, Community Health & Prevention

Delta Omega

The student membership in the Delta Omega National Honor Society is awarded to students who reflect a commitment to excellence in academics and the applications of synthesis of public health principles as well as to the protection and improvement of population and community health. The DSPH Delta Omega Beta Omega Chapter Alumni Nomination Committee reviews all nominations and selects students in the top quartile of GPA with an outstanding record of service to the community. To be eligible for membership, candidates must:

  • Be an undergraduate (BS) or graduate (MPH, MS, PhD, DrPH) student in the Dornsife School of Public Health in good academic standing
  • Attend two (2) Beta Omega Chapter approved service activities each year. (Attending non-Beta Omega service activities will also meet this requirement. Service includes volunteer opportunities in the public health industry as well as to the community in which you live and/or work)
  • Have a record of outstanding academic achievement

New Members:

  • Asha-Leigh Ashton
  • Arya Amaro
  • Yariliz Cesareo
  • Meghan Gupta
  • Ripon Hosain
  • Andrea Jaffe
  • Autumn Kilduff
  • Alysha Melnyk
  • Manya Mittal
  • Francesca Mucciaccio
  • Sumbul Murtaza
  • Randy Persaud
  • Jackie Pham
  • Madeline Plummer
  • Madison Raposa
  • Amy Rhodes
  • Ruanna Small
  • Alicia Willard

Congratulations, again, to our recipients and thanks to the organizers in the Office of Education for planning such a great event.