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Faculty and Staff Honored at Spring Assembly

The annual awards ceremony recognizes outstanding teaching, public health practice, service, mentoring and commitment to the school’s success and community.

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Ron Mower receives 2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III “Courage Against Hate” award
Dr. Ron Mower (center), a lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology, received the inaugural 2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III “Courage Against Hate” award. Also pictured l to r: Joanne Klossner, Michael Brown, Ron Mower, Dawn Collins, and Boris Lushniak.

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, SPH faculty and staff convened for the spring assembly which included the annual awards ceremony honoring outstanding teaching, public health practice, service, mentoring and commitment to the school’s success and community. New this year, the 2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Collins III “Courage Against Hate” award was established through a partnership with Richard’s mother Mrs. Dawn Collins. The School of Public Health and Mrs. Collins created the award to honor the life of this young Black man and remind our community that his life was taken through a violent act by a UMD SPH student who was motivated by racialized hate. The award will be given annually to a member (or group) from the SPH community who has advanced culture, programs, and policies that work towards a hate free, more just society through engagement with the school, campus, and/or community. The demonstrated work should support diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism goals. 

Congratulations to all the awardees! 

Dr. Paul Turner is an associate professor in Applied Environmental Health focusing on understanding chemical exposures in acute and chronic disease. He also serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. Nominees described Turner as an outstanding teacher, who knows all of his students by name and constructs courses thoughtfully with the intention of engaging students in new and impactful ways. 

“[Since Turner arrived at UMD nearly 10 years ago,] he talked with others, listened to students, experimented, revised, and experimented again,” said Dr. Steve Roth, associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, in his nomination. “He has not stopped revising their courses or innovating in the classroom since that time. He provides a superb example of someone who has worked hard to become an excellent instructor, showing all research-intensive faculty what is possible with some effort and commitment.”

Sandra Quinn, Patricia Barros and Boris Lushniak pose for photo

The George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award recognizes a faculty member who does an outstanding job putting theory into practice, an apt description for Dr. Patricia Barros said nominators Drs. Mona Mittal and Sandra Quinn. 

Barros, an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Science, also serves as the Clinic Director of the Center for Healthy Families. As the pandemic progressed, she was instrumental in transitioning the clinic from in-person to online back to a hybrid format. She also initiated a support group for SPH academic advisors in 2020.

“During this sustained time of uncertainty, Barros was relentless in their support of students and clients,” the nomination said. “She made herself available to students and clinical supervisors at odd hours and took care of all the emergencies in the clinic. These efforts have been enormously time-consuming and emotionally taxing. Yet, she exhibited a dedication to her students and clients that has been extraordinary.”

Dr. Melvin Seale is an assistant professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Health Policy and Management. In the latter role, nominator Dr. Jie Chen said he revolutionized the graduate programs, including initiatives to streamline the internship program, creating a tracking system to monitor job opportunities for students, and identifying and creating student workshops like “What Can I Do with this Degree?” and “Women in Public Health.” He also established a new student organization called Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. 

Combined, these efforts resulted in time saved in administrative processes, improved student engagement, and “outstanding students’ achievement, knowledge, and skills obtained, and excellent job placement.”

“This magnificent revolution will lead our program and the school to the next milestone,” the nomination read.

Dr. Ali Hurtado Choque, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Science and extension specialist at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, received the Murial R. Sloan Communitarian Award as a result of his strenuous efforts in “community-engaged research, extension, and service.” 

This year alone, his intervention research included “a Spanish-language mobile health application for Latino immigrant families during the pandemic; transnational research collaborations in Chile and Honduras; a project to promote youth mental health by strengthening family skills and sports engagement; a psychosocial education program to develop leadership capacity and advocacy skills for parents of Latino students an expansion for Spanish-speaking Latino families of the Health Insurance Literacy Initiative; and a program for rural Maryland to strengthen community capacity to prevent opioid misuse.”

“Ali has gone above and beyond expectations as an exemplary SPH communitarian,” said Dr. Kevin Roy in his nomination. “He reflects and extends the legacy of the Muriel Sloan Award in critical ways. Our department and the SPH community looks forward to his continued and substantial contributions as a collaborator, mentor, and researcher in an interdisciplinary and transnational community of scholars and students in public health and family science.”

Kathryn Carr, Brittany Bugbee and Boris Lushniak

Brittany Bugbee serves as senior faculty specialist in both the Center on Young Adult Health and Development and the Office of Planning and Evaluation, as well as project director for the The Woodlawn Project. In that capacity, she has found nearly 1,000 research participants, tracking down people that haven’t been contacted in decades and managing many other responsibilities, like “securing data from the National Death Index, requesting death certificates from numerous states, and working with federal and state prisons to figure out how to interview incarcerated participants.”

She’s done all of this with grace and a positive attitude.

“Bugbee has cheerfully worked many nights and weekends to accommodate participant and interviewer schedules, all the while maintaining pride and even excitement in each completed interview,” said Kathryn Vincent Carr in her nomination. “We could not recommend her more highly for the Research and Development Award as she has done all these research tasks with vigor and proficiency, without losing sight of the goal and while maintaining her numerous other responsibilities.”

Michel Boudreaux, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, was selected for this award in part because of the outstanding success of the seven PhD students and 11 MPH students he advised in the 2021-2022 academic year. Boudreaux successfully funded five graduate students, and among his publications last year, two of them were led by his Ph.D. students and four included at least one student author. 

“During the 2021-2022 school year Michel served as my advisor, coauthor, and dissertation chair,” said one of the students. “He spent countless hours supporting my academic pursuits, including paper revisions, job talk coaching, and recommendations for my dissertation research. Through humility and genuine curiosity, he has challenged me to become a better researcher and mentor.” 

“His effort and achievement and his students’ achievement will get our department prepared to recruit outstanding faculty members and students and build a training/research center with an aim to educate the next generation of health services researchers,” wrote Dr. Jie Chen in her nomination.


Jennifer Schwartz and Boris Lushniak

Jennifer Schwartz, Assistant Dean for Development, was the recipient of the Viki Annand Staff Excellence Award. Nominator Alyssa Todaro Brooks described Schwartz as going above and beyond to “keep the board organized, productive, efficient, and excited about building SPH engagement.” She also increased alumni engagement, even in a pandemic, and has been instrumental in aiding in transition with staff turnover and transition to virtual meetings and events.

“Perhaps most importantly, she never fails to celebrate achievements (no matter how small) and gracefully balance the fine line between holding volunteers accountable and respecting their time and energy,” the nomination said. “By creating processes to ensure efficiency and continuity of operations, she has not only set up the current board for success but created a well thought-out pipeline of potential future volunteers from which we frequently draw on for support.”

Steve Roth, Cyndi Kershaw and Boris Lushniak

Cyndi Kershaw serves as program coordinator for the UTEAM Program, which creates teaching teams with faculty and undergraduate TAs to increase peer mentoring and support. Her support for the school goes beyond her staff position: she has, completely voluntarily, led several community events and has spent countless hours mentoring students to help them pursue their career goals. She is a tireless advocate for SPH students, faculty, and staff.

“From craft projects to skills demonstrations, Cyndi has established herself as a key member of our community within less than five years in their role, and succeeded not only in accomplishing success as a professional but endearing so many of us to her infectious enthusiasm for the school and all that we do,” said Dr. Steve Roth in his nomination.

This team was built out of “tremendous administrative, research, and staff support needs.” Whitney Whitfield serves as business services specialist, coordinating payroll, procurement, travel and other business operations and overseeing benefits, visa verifications and purchasing for the department. Jessica Duque is associate director of finance and is responsible for the daily financial activities in the Office of Dean and its research centers. And, Dawn Schettino is the director of research administration. 

In her nomination, Jie Chen described Whitfield as an extremely hard worker and quick learner; Duque a “genius of the budget”; and Schettino as a “master of grants.” 

“I am so touched to see the girl power in this team!” Chen said. “Thank you for your fantastic job that makes us thrive even during this challenging time.”


Steve Roth, PHBB student (name unknown), Lis Maring and Boris Lushniak

Dr. Lis Maring is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Family Science, director of the Global Public Health Scholars program and adviser to Public Health Beyond Borders. Maring and PHBB are the recipients of the Public Health Practice Award. The student group has the goal of fostering “a universal community by educating and serving underrepresented countries.” It aims to increase awareness about good health practices while offering undergraduate and graduate students opportunities for responsible global development work through faculty-mentored international trips.

“This group has completed multiple service trips to Peru, India, and Sierra Leone, often in conjunction with students from Engineers Without Borders. School faculty have engaged as advisors and participants in these trips,” said Dr. Steve Roth in his nomination. “I think this group and its lead faculty mentor are an excellent inaugural awardee for this SPH award.”


Dr. Negin Fouladi is an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. She was awarded the Community Engagement Partnership Award in acknowledgement of her leadership of the “Growing and Sustaining Global Collaborations Through the U21 Health Research Exchange (HREx)” project, which “aims to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion for doctoral students and early-career researchers.” Universitas 21 brings together 27 universities in research collaboration. The HREx project was featured in the U21 impact report for “supporting students and researchers through training and mentorship opportunities to identify real-world solutions.”

“I give Negin the strongest recommendation for the Community Engagement Partnership Award to acknowledge the success of the U21 project,” the nomination said. “The success is built upon her decades of experience in translating research to practice and policy. The success reflects her dedication to applying knowledge to practical, real-world settings through community engagement.”

Ron Mower hugs Dawn Collins

Dr. Ron Mower is a lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology. Mower is committed to promoting the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism. In the past year, he created the Action Assemblage for Justice, Equity, and Peace (AAJEP); worked on the development of the Physical Culture, Social Justice, and Health Equity (PCSJHE) concentration focus; and is in the process of developing two courses for that focus, “generally around the implementation of social justice imperatives and methods within KNES and PCS.” 

“He is passionate about bringing people together; to provide space for empathetic dialogue; to facilitate meaningful interactions and relationship-building; to promote healthy bodies and minds; to demonstrate the power of embracing our diversity and working together,” said nominator Michael Brown.

  • Categories
  • Faculty
  • Departments
  • Department of Behavioral and Community Health
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
  • Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Department of Family Science
  • Department of Health Policy and Management