URMC honors faculty, staff members

The 14th annual Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Awards, presented by the Center for Community Health & Prevention (CCHP) of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), honored URMC faculty and staff for their contributions to advancing community health and health equity in the Rochester region. The keynote address was presented by the awards’ namesake David Satcher, an internationally recognized and renowned physician who is considered a champion in public health and health equity who began his medical career at URMC.

Receiving the award were:

• Senior Faculty Awardee — Physician Michael D. Mendoza, the ninth commissioner of public health for Monroe County and a professor in the department of family medicine.

Mendoza oversees the Monroe County Department of Public Health’s diverse array of health promotion and disease preparedness efforts serving the residents of Monroe County with a focus on equity and inclusion. Under his oversight of the MCDPH, vaccinating the underserved has been a high priority, mobile outreach services have expanded, a violence prevention program has been initiated, and individuals and families dealing with substance use disorder have gained access to a wider range of support services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he demonstrated outstanding leadership by decision-making that was informed equally by science and community input.

• Junior Faculty Awardees (joint): Andrew Cohen, Ph.D.; Allison Stiles, Ph.D.; and Corey Nichols-Hadeed, JD, are faculty in the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry, as well as co-directors for an initiative called “EACH Youth in the RCSD,” where “EACH” stands for “Enhanced Access & Connection to Healthcare.”

EACH seeks to address the health issues of children and youth, including their behavioral and mental health needs, by providing specialty training for school teams and promoting community service collaboration. The project has partnered with 17 Rochester City School District (RCSD) schools, implemented telehealth services in nine schools, and reached nearly 10,000 students.

The awardees work closely with multiple community partners, including their primary partner – RCSD, as well as the Children’s Institute, ROC the Future Alliance, and primary care practices.

• Staff Awardees (joint) —Registered nurses Wendy Hou and Christine Maness are assistant directors of pediatric nursing at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

During the pandemic, they coordinated an interdisciplinary team, called “Little Shots, Big Protection: A Team Providing COVID-19 Vaccine for Our Community’s Children,” that seamlessly navigated numerous logistic barriers to COVID-19 vaccination of the pediatric population. Their collaborative leadership style, adherence to the highest quality standards, organizational excellence, and responsiveness to community needs ensured equitable access to the pediatric vaccine and provided essential guidance and support to community pediatricians. A total of 2,730 pediatric vaccines were administered through 44 clinics.

Hou and Maness worked closely with their primary partner, MCDPH, and Common Ground Health.