Dr. Guadalupe X. “Suchi” Ayala was awarded the 2018 Latino Caucus’ Henry Montes Presidential Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA). This award is given to individuals who have achieved outstanding accomplishments and have produced tangible contributions to the field of public health that has elevated health promotion, education, and services in Latino communities. Furthermore, the awardee will have made an impact on access to health services and/or improved care practices within Latino communities nationwide. A few examples of work done to achieve this award include: articulating and influencing public health issues/policies, improving community health status, developing health programs, initiating health education and training curricula, and carrying out scientific research.
Dr. Ayala, a professor of public health at SDSU and a Latina public health researcher, was chosen for this award due to her outstanding contributions to the field. Dr. Ayala has dedicated her career to advancing public health evidence for Latino communities across the U.S., conducting cutting edge, innovative and collaborative intervention research to solve some of the most pressing issues affecting the health of Latinos. Furthermore, Dr. Ayala supports Latino students and junior researchers while they work to advance not only the Latino research community but their personal careers as well.
An example of this dedication is through the creation of the new SDSU HealthLINK Center for Transdisciplinary Health Disparities Research, which promotes and supports research and evidence-based practices to improve the well-being of residents living in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Each year, four post-doctoral fellows or early career scientists at SDSU will receive between $30,000 and $50,000 each to fund a pilot project, plus mentorship and guidance in establishing a program of research at SDSU to continue the advancement of minority health research through generations.
Dr. Ayala was also the 2004 recipient of their Outstanding Young Community-based Professional award. She has dedicated her career to Latino health disparities and mentoring trainees who are interested in addressing some of the major health issues facing Latinos in the U.S.
Dr. Ayala shared the stage with the San Diego County Promotores, which received an outstanding organization award from the caucus. She noted that this was fitting given how much their work inspires her research.
“Dr. Ayala’s contributions to advancing Latinos extend to her institutional leadership at her research center Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH), San Diego State University, and nationally” states Dr. Aparicio, President of the Latino Caucus, “she has worked tirelessly for the past 15 years to elevate Latino health issues, solutions, and individuals to the national conversation and secure the space that Latino health deserves in the national conversation”.