Press Release: Latino Caucus for Public Health Honored Public Health Leaders for Their Contributions to the Health and Wellness of Latinos

November 4, 2014
Contact: José Pietro Aparicio/Debora B. Freitas Lopez

Chicago, IL (November 4, 2015) - The Latino Caucus for Public Health honored public health leaders during their 42nd Awards Dinner and Ceremony which took place on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. The Awards Dinner, which was sponsored by The Chicago Community Foundation, Blue Shield Blue Cross Association, The California Endowment, AARP-Illinois, and Institute for Minority Health Research -Study of Latinos, University of Illinois at Chicago, among others, was led by Master of Ceremony Mike Oquendo, creator, producer and host of The Mikey O Comedy Show. It also included a Día de los Muertos Exhibit, a Children Mariachi Band, and a DJ. Guest and keynote speakers included: Carmenza Milan, PhD, Associate State Director - Advocacy and Outreach, AARP, IL; Alma Rodriguez, Program Officer, Chicago Community Trust; and, Jesus (Chuy) Garcia, Cook County Commissioner. The Awards Dinner is held annually to recognize individuals and organizations that have demonstrated superior commitment and contribution toward improving the health status of the Latino community. The LCPH presented the awards during the dinner before an audience of public health practitioners from throughout the country and world who were attending the 143rd American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting.

The award winners were: Jorge Girotti, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Education, University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine: Dr. Girotti will receive the 2015 Distinguished Nationally Known Health Professional Award. Dr. Girotti is an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Education at the College of Medicine, University of Illinois-Chicago. He is the founder and has been the director for over 20 years of the Hispanic Center for Excellence - a Center that provides training, leadership development, mentorship, and research opportunities to Hispanics/Latinos and African-Americas from disadvantaged communities. He has contributed to building the minority physician workforce, and as a result, hundreds of them now practice medicine in the U.S.  His current research priorities include the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational programs to improve cultural competence of physicians and other health professionals. Dr. Girotti also makes time to serve his community through his participation on several boards, including the Illinois State Board of Public Health, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools, as well as on various committees at the University of Illinois-Chicago, notably the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Latinos and the Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning Committee.

Lisa Aponte-Soto, PhD, MHA, National Deputy Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections at Equal Measure: Dr. Aponte-Soto will receive the 2015 Outstanding New Public Health Professional Award in recognition for her commitment to the professional development and advancement of racial and ethnic students through education, advising, and career coaching. Dr. Aponte-Soto is the national deputy director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections and one of the directors with Equal Measure. In her current and past roles, she has actively promoted culturally responsive practices for fostering academic and health equity among underserved, underrepresented, and vulnerable populations. She is a founding member and inaugural co-chair of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Topical Interest Group (TIG), program co-chair of the AEA Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation TIG, and a member of the AEA Cultural Competence Working Group.

National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA): The NHMA will receive the 2015 Meritorious Community Based Health Organization Award. Established in 1994 in Washington, DC, the NHMA is a non-profit association representing the interests of 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the U.S. Its vision is to be the national leader to improve the health of Hispanic populations. As a rapidly growing national resource based in the nation's capital, NHMA serves as a resource to the Nation by providing policymakers, health care providers, and our partners with expert information and support in strengthening health service delivery to Hispanic communities across the nation. As a member of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the NHMA meets regularly with Federal officials to hold them accountable on Hispanic issues. Through its various fellowship and mentoring programs, the NHMA develops future leaders that are actively nominated to positions, boards, and commissions with the Federal government and corporate sector. To date, it has trained 150 Fellows and 200 Resident Leaders. The NHMA also offers several networking opportunities for its members, including its Annual Hispanic Health Conference.

Patricia Y. Miranda, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Administration and Demography, The Pennsylvania State University: Dr. Miranda will receive the 2015 Henry Montes President’s Service Award for her continued dedication to the Latino Caucus, including chairing its scientific program since 2011. Dr. Miranda is an assistant professor in the Health Policy and Administration and Demography Department at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Miranda was a Kellogg Health Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Health Disparities Research, Center for Research on Minority Health. Dr. Miranda’s research interests focus on cancer prevention among vulnerable populations, specifically disparities in cancer screening affecting immigrant and Latino populations. Dr. Miranda’s research reflects the shifting demographics of the U.S. and examines how policies and screening guidelines may differentially impact vulnerable populations.

For years, the Latino Caucus has recognized and awarded individuals and organizations who have dedicated their lives to advancing public health and health care of Latinos and Latinas in the Americas. Additional information regarding the Latino Caucus for Public Health activities during the 143rd APHA Annual Meeting is available at: http://bit.ly/1OAndCp.

“This event is a tremendous opportunity to celebrate our leaders’ successes and their dedication to our communities,” said José Pietro Aparicio, president of the Latino Caucus for Public Health.

About the Latino Caucus for Public Health: The Latino Caucus’ mission is to represent and advocate for the health interests of the Latino community, both within and outside APHA while providing a leadership opportunity for young professionals to share their experience with others in the field of public health. For more information regarding the Latino Caucus, please visit: www.latinocaucus-apha.org