Congratulations to our very own Brittany Gross and William McConnell for being named recipients for the Stephen Jay Leadership Award for Improving Public Health in Indiana! All the AIHTI members are very proud of you both!
I asked both the members a few interview questions that highlighted:
1) how they were nominated and by whom
2) the criteria that needed to be met to receive the award
3) whether their AmeriCorps service played a factor in being named a recipient
4) how the award might help them in the future
5) a brief statement describing the award
6) why they felt like they were named recipients
Brittany replied with the following answers:
1. Yes, you have to be nominated to recieve the award. I was nominated by Dr. Huber. I have been working with her to recieve my Graduate Certificate in Gerontology for the last year.
2. The criteria for the award as stated by IU are “The award will be given each year to a masters student in public health from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana University Bloomington or Purdue University. The winner will exhibit exemplary public health leadership, scholarship and practice resulting in the improvement of public health in Indiana.”
3. My AmeriCorps service was a factor because Dr. Huber felt that what I was doing here at Volunteers in Medicine was important. Will and I work to increase patients at Volunteers in Medicine’s self-efficacy to manage their chronic health conditions through a series of discussions, the “Yes I Can” Workshop.
4. This award is going to help me find a job and further promote Public Health in the future. I hope to continue to help others with chronic conditions and I think this award will help me find a position in the future that allows me to do just that.
5. The Stephen Jay Leadership Award is a wonderful award. It places a spotlight on the new and continuing efforts in public health. Furthermore, the award highlights the work of Master’s students who are often overlooked! I am very greatful to receive this prestigious award and Dr. Huber for nominating me.
6. I feel like the work I am doing at Volunteers in Medicine is very important and I know I am working with a wonderful population. The population that Volunteers in Medicine serves is those that are uninsured and are 200% below the poverty level. The work that William McConnell and I are doing is helping to improve this population’s health and reduce medical costs through increasing their knowledge and abilities to maintain their own chronic conditions. Cost of health care is an important issue for everyone but for these people it is critical!
Will replied with the following answers:
1. I was nominated to receive the award but the nomination process, so far, has been anonymous. It may be revealed who nominated me for the award during the awards ceremony during Indiana’s Public Health Week.
2. A student being nominated for the award must exhibit exemplary public health leadership, scholarship and practice resulting in the improvement of public health in Indiana. The award is a tribute to Dr. Jay’s inspiration and dedication to public health education in Indiana. (Dr. Stephen Jay is a professor of medicine and public health at Indiana University School of Medicine whose work has focused on pulmonary medicine, including smoking addiction and the dangers of passive smoke).
3. My experience as an AmeriCorps service member did play an integral role in my nomination. Being a service member of AmeriCorps demonstrates that I have a dedication to service as well as improving health throughout Indiana.
4. This award will hopefully be the first of many that will appear on my resume/CV and will further build my credentials as a public health professional.
5. The award is intended to acknowledge students working in the field of public health in Indiana and to highlight the work they are doing within the state as important in further improving the overall health of the people of Indiana.
6. I feel like I received the award because of the work I’m doing as an AmeriCorps member serving at Volunteers in Medicine. As a program coordinator for a chronic disease self-management program I help to encourage and build capacity in individuals struggling with weight management and diabetes. Getting those who are overweight and obese to take control of their condition is the first step in improving their health and is an essential part of the mission of Volunteers in Medicine. This local clinic serves those who are uninsured or underinsured living in poverty and this service is integral in maintaining the health of the people of Monroe and Owen counties. The clinic is also completely volunteer based and without those willing to volunteer and AmeriCorps members like me, the health of the people living in poverty in this area would suffer.
Brittany and Will are two examples that show just how important giving back to their community is.
Again, all the members are very proud of you two and glad to have you both serving with AIHTI! Keep up the good work and continue to demonstrate exemplary public health leadership, scholarship and practice toward improving public health in Indiana.