Dr. Susan Tortolero Emery was honored as a one of two “Champions of Children” at a luncheon held by the Children’s Defense Fund on May 18. The award is given to those who work to change the odds for children and teens through research, education, and action in health sciences. Emery is senior associate dean of academic and research affairs and a professor of epidemiology and health promotion and behavioral sciences here at UTHealth School of Public Health.
[Photo: Dr. Susan Tortolero Emery]
About the Champions of Children, the luncheon chairs, Ms. Licia A. Green and Ms. Rodney Ellis, write, “Building a movement for children takes the committed efforts of caring, compassionate individuals who demonstrate by example that change begins with each of us. We salute them for their leadership.” Along with Emery, the award also was presented by Dr. Peggy B. Smith, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine.
“I am honored to be recognized by this amazing organization,” says Dr. Tortolero Emery. “This award symbolizes the dedication we have at UTHealth School of Public Health in improving the lives of children and in reducing disadvantage and disparities.”
The luncheon was held in celebration of five young people who “Beat the Odds” by overcoming adversity and demonstrating academic excellence while giving back to their communities. The students each received a scholarship for college and additional donations to help them through their college experiences.
Opening remarks were given by Ms. Marian Wright Edelmen, president of the Children’s Defense Fund and longtime advocate for disadvantaged Americans. Ms. Edelmen began her career in the 60s as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Office and later moved to Washington, D.C. to act as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began organizing before his death.