ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON: Honors Community Leaders on Access
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's seven-year-old Community Health Leadership Program has awarded 10 "remarkable individuals" who have overcome daunting odds to expand health care and social services to the underserved $95,000 each for enhancement of their programs and $5,000 each as personal awards. "Converting adversities to advantages, these leaders create a sea change in the communities where they serve," said RWJF President Dr. Steven Schroeder, adding, "We're honored to be able to recognize them in such a significant way." Chosen from a pool of 317 applicants, the 10 leaders have experienced first-hand the environments they worked to improve. "Millions of people living in America are excluded from the healthcare system because of poverty, language, or culture," said Catherine Dunham, director of the Boston-based Community Health Leadership Program. "These leaders have tackled and removed some of the most complicated and fundamental barriers to health care in their communities," she added. The award recipients are:
- Rosalina "Rosie" Freeman, Morristown, TN -- executive director, Reachout, Inc.: For her commitment to helping Latina factory and farm workers obtain prenatal, obstetrics and postnatal care using community health educators and worksite visits.
- Elizabeth "Betsy" Burke, Pittsburgh, PA -- program coordinator, Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh: For successfully bridging the gap between the medical community and victims of domestic violence by developing a system-wide response to victims and a comprehensive prevention network.
- Martha Cook Carter, Scott Depot, WI -- executive director, WomenCare/FamilyCare: For providing and sustaining the only women's health and family planning services for rural poor in Putnam County, including a thriving midwifery practice.
- Megan Charlop, Bronx, NY -- director, Montefiore Medical Center Lead Poisoning Prevention Project: For creating the first comprehensive lead poisoning prevention project of its kind in the nation.
- Tyrone Chatman, Detroit, MI -- associate executive director, Michigan's Veteran's Foundation: For increasing social services, substance abuse intervention, legal assistance and vocational training opportunities for homeless or disenfranchised veterans and for making sure homeless veterans are counted toward Detroit's 2000 census.
- Carey Jackson, Seattle, WA -- medical director, Community House Calls Program, Harborview Medical Center: For transforming the way health care is delivered to newly-arrived refugees in Seattle by using "cultural mediators" who help in a community where people speak as many as 17 languages.
- Janet Chang Needman, San Jose, CA -- program coordinator, Family Support Center: For creating a program to help homeless students succeed in school and for leading the volunteer effort to help young people who want a fresh start from gang association by removing their tattoos for free.
- Juan Carlos Ruiz, Milwaukee, WI -- community organizer, Wisconsin Citizen Action: For his success in mobilizing a community in the fight to end childhood lead poisoning.
- Claudia Sowell, Hopkinsville, KY: director, St. Luke Free Clinic: For her efforts to improve the health and well-being of her rural Kentucky community through disease prevention and health promotion programs.
- Emma Torres, Somerton, AZ -- project manager, Puentas De Amistad: For her perseverance against heavy odds in advocating on behalf of migrant farm workers, especially in the area of substance abuse and its related tragedies -- HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy (CHLP release, 6/4).