The Department of Behavioral and Community Health has evolved significantly over the past few years, and is currently comprised of faculty, staff and hundreds of students who share in a passion to improve health outcomes of individuals and communities. Each year, our Department recognizes some exceptional Community Health undergraduate majors by honoring them with awards in recognition of their achievements. A listing of all Behavioral and Community Health sponsored awards follows.

Please note that students may apply for only one award.

Sharon M. Desmond Community Service Award

This award honors Dr. Sharon Desmond’s more than 20-year involvement and commitment to improving health within the local community. Serving as a professor within the Department of Behavioral and Community Health since 1989, she teaches about public health from a social justice perspective, addressing health disparities that result from racism and lack of access to care. Dr. Desmond has worked diligently with communities surrounding the University to empower them through health education. In 1999, she was instrumental in founding a health partnership between the city of Seat Pleasant, MD and the university. Since its birth, she has served as secretary, chairperson, and co-chairperson of the Seat Pleasant-University of Maryland Health Partnership (SP-UMHP) and has been actively involved in all partnership programs and activities.

Each spring, the Department of Behavioral and Community Health presents this award to an undergraduate who has demonstrated dedication to his or her community in a health-related capacity. The award will be given to a student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, who has completed at least 2 semesters in the Community Health major, and who has regularly participated in community service activities. To apply, please email your full name and university ID, as well as a 1-2 page (maximum) narrative about why you deserve this award, to Dr. Nancy Smith at nsmith10@umd.edu by March 6th at 4:30 pm. The subject line of your email should read, “Desmond Community Service Award.”

Robin G. Sawyer Health Teaching/Communication Award

This award honors Dr. Robin Sawyer’s more than 25-year commitment to a high standard of teaching excellence and health communication. Dr. Sawyer has received numerous awards for his exciting and effective classroom teaching methods, including the most prestigious University of Maryland Regent’s Award for Teaching Excellence, which identifies the most outstanding teacher among 5,000 faculty in the

 University of Maryland System. His unwavering commitment to teaching has led to over 450 presentations at schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States, and his innovative approach to education has

made his Human Sexuality course one of the most popular classes on our campus. Dr. Sawyer has also written and produced 5 sexuality films that have garnered 14 national and international film awards. Through his Methods and Materials in Health course, Dr. Sawyer continues to teach our majors how to become effective communicators of health information.

Each spring, the Department of Behavioral and Community Health presents this award to an undergraduate who demonstrates promise and involvement in public/community health presentations and teaching. The award will be given to a student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, who has completed at least 2 semesters in the Community Health major, and who has effectively taught or presented on a health-related topic. To apply, please email your full name and university ID, as well as a 1-2 page (maximum) narrative of why you deserve this award, to Dr. Nancy Smith at nsmith10@umd.edu by March 6th at 4:30 pm. The subject line of your email should read, “Sawyer Health Teaching/Communication Award.”

Beck-Feldman Public Health Research Award

This award honors Drs. Kenneth Beck and Robert Feldman’s more than 30-year commitment to public health research. Both serve as full professors within the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. Dr. Beck has worked with numerous federal, state, and local agencies to research issues surrounding injury prevention, traffic safety, graduated licensing and risk-taking behaviors. He has focused specifically on the effectiveness of breath alcohol ignition locks at preventing impaired driving, and the effects of parental monitoring on teen alcohol involvement. Dr. Feldman’s major areas of research have focused on investigating worksite smoking cessation among government workers in Costa Rica and Latino immigrant construction workers in Maryland. He has also examined the effectiveness of interventions to encourage healthier eating among low income women in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program and infant nutrition programs for Latina mothers.

Each spring, the Department of Behavioral and Community Health presents this award to an undergraduate who has a demonstrated involvement in health research projects. The award will be given to a student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, who has completed at least 2 semesters in the Community Health major, and who has had some involvement in research. To apply, please email your full name and university ID, as well as a 1-2 page (maximum) narrative of why you deserve this award, to Dr. Nancy Smith at nsmith10@umd.edu by March 6th at 4:30 pm. The subject line of your email should read, “Beck-Feldman Public Health Research Award.”

David Hyde Award

This award honors Dr. David Hyde’s more than 20 year involvement with the Department of Behavioral and Community Health. As the former Undergraduate Program Director, Dr. Hyde advisedliterally hundreds of students, assisting them in reaching their academic, professional, and personal goals. His open door policy, personable demeanor, and realistic approach to problem solving made him popular among Community Health students. Dr. Hyde also taught courses in stress management and was passionate about helping students cope with and control stress in their academic and personal lives. Retiring in 2010, Dr. Hyde has had the opportunity to pursue his long time interest in photography.

Each spring, the Department of Behavioral and Community Health presents this award to an undergraduate who has demonstrated strength in the face of adversity. The award will be given to a student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, who has completed at least 2 semesters in the Community Health major, and who has experienced adversity during his or her undergraduate career. To apply, please email your full name and university ID, as well as a 1-2 page (maximum) narrative of why you deserve this award, to Dr. Nancy Smith at nsmith10@umd.edu by March 6th at 4:30 pm. The subject line of your email should read, “David Hyde Award.”

Doris Sands Award

This award honors Dr. Doris Sands, a renowned sexuality educator who was recognized for her tremendous teaching skills and ability to reach thousands of students during her time at the University of Maryland (1964-1986). Dr. Sands began her career as a school nurse and happened to identify and diagnose a serious illness in a young high school student. This early intervention saved the young man’s life, and many years later, in honor of this action, the grateful man set up a scholarship in the name of Dr. Sands. Throughout her teaching career here at Maryland, Dr. Sands was well known for her direct manner and fearlessness regarding education around human sexuality. She was a trailblazer in this regard, and helped to normalize issues of sexual health in her immensely popular Human Sexuality course.

Each spring, the Department of Behavioral and Community Health’s Undergraduate Program Committee selects (no application) a student to receive this award based on strong motivation and promise in the field.