ASPPH Announces Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service Recipient

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health announces the inaugural recipient of the Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service: Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health.

The Dornsife School of Public Health has been selected as the inaugural awardee in recognition of its extensive commitment to civic engagement and community service. The School’s involvement in its community is broad and put into practice by providing faculty with extensive protected time to engage with the community to address the social, economic, and policy contexts of health. The School’s faculty, staff, and students are actively engaged with the residents of Philadelphia to improve the health of Philadelphia in areas ranging from chronic disease prevention to primary care access to addressing the opioid epidemic.

ASPPH found that Drexel’s innovative research and practice activities, which involve faculty, staff, students and community partners, is unwavering, and making a significant difference to the Philadelphia community and beyond, especially to its most vulnerable citizens.

“Community engagement and the translation of evidence into action are core to our mission, so we are truly thrilled to be the first recognized for this by the ASPPH,” said Dean Ana Diez Roux.

In addition to its relationships with the city of Philadelphia’s Departments of Health and Behavioral Health, the School is engaged with over 125 local organizations working to reduce health disparities and improve the health of their communities. The faculty, staff, and students work with their partners in community-based research, volunteer service, active engagement on boards and committees, numerous formal practice opportunities for students, and the training of the current public health workforce.

“Drexel’s level of community engagement is exceptional. The depth and breadth of their work with the Philadelphia community is astonishing and reflects the commitment the school and its faculty, staff and students have for the region they serve. Their work is a model for others in the academic public health community,”  said Dr. Laura Magaña, president & CEO, ASPPH.

The School’s commitment to community engagement reverberates through its education, research, and public health practice mission activities. As Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner, said, “Meeting the public health challenges facing Philadelphia requires a strong health department and strong partnerships. The Dornsife School of Public Health has been an instrumental partner in identifying and addressing public health challenges and coming up with solutions to reduce disparities and improve the public’s health.”

Dean Ana Diez Roux will receive the award during the 2018 ASPPH Annual Meeting awards luncheon on Thursday March 8.

Finalist Recognition:

ASPPH congratulates the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Dean Iman Hakim on the School’s selection as a Finalist for the ASPPH Harrison C. Spencer Community Service Award. Their efforts to develop a collaborative academic network serving the public health needs of Arizona, the Southwest region, and the global community are exceptional.

ASPPH was very impressed by the work of everyone and appreciates the 13 submissions we received. We look forward to next year.

About the Award:

The ASPPH Harrison C. Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service was created to honor Dr. Spencer, who had a long-standing commitment to principles of social justice with a focus on community engagement to address the social determinants of health. It is the first and only ASPPH award that recognizes a member institution, rather than an individual. This annual award is given to an ASPPH-member, CEPH-accredited school or program of public health demonstrating a major institutional commitment to addressing community needs through education, practice, and/or research. The recipient receives a specially designed award and an honorarium for $5,000, intended to be transferred by the school or program to one or more current or emerging community partners.