This May, the University of Maryland School of Public Health recognized five outstanding members of the SPH community. Four individuals received the Distinguished Terrapin Award, the school's highest honor, and another received the Early Career Award. The awardees were recognized at the Dean's Recognition Ceremony on May 13, 2022 which was attended by members of the SPH Dean's Council, supporters and friends of the school, along with faculty, staff and students. Dr. Robin Mockenhaupt PhD '99, chair of the SPH Dean's Council, emceed the event. Dean Boris D. Lushniak presented awards to the recipients and shared updates on the state of the school.
The 2022 Distinguished Terrapins are:
- Dr. Alyssa T. Brooks, Ph.D. ’15
- Professor Emeritus Robert S. Gold (founding dean of the School of Public Health)
- Mr. Diego Uriburu
- Mr. Edward Woods IV
The 2022 Early Career Award honoree is:
- Ms. Maya A. Walker '13
We are proud to recognize our 2022 awardees and look forward to their continued contributions as they connect with our community through speaking engagements and mentoring opportunities!
Distinguished Terrapin Awardees
Dr. Alyssa T. Brooks, PhD ’15 (Behavioral and Community Health)
Associate Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
- Associate Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
- President of the UMD SPH Alumni Network Board since 2017
- Education: B.S. (Pennsylvania State University), Ph.D. (University of Maryland)
Alyssa Todaro Brooks is an administrator, scientist, educator, mentor, and advocate passionate about inspiring a legacy of forward-thinking individuals to answer the next generation’s most pressing public health questions.
For over a decade, she worked as an investigator at the NIH Clinical Center, studying health behavior in diverse and vulnerable populations, while teaching over 500 students as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. She later worked as a Scientific Review Officer at the NIH Center for Scientific Review, where she combines in-depth knowledge on the process of health behavior research with leadership and organizational skills to oversee the peer review of NIH grant applications. Two weeks ago, she accepted a new position as an Associate Director (Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science) at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI; pronounced puh-CORE-ee).
Dr. Brooks has served as President of the School of Public Health Alumni Network since 2017, leading a 13-person board to engage the SPH alumni base of over 21,000 people, and has been recognized with two awards from the national University of Maryland Alumni Association. She also served on the University of Maryland Board of Governors and the Robert S. and Barbara A. Gold Public Health Innovation Award selection committee.
In her community, Dr. Brooks serves on a number of nonprofit and community-based executive boards, including the City of Gaithersburg Educational Enrichment Committee and the board of directors for the non-profit Chat Health, which was founded by a UMD student. She is grateful for opportunities to give back to the Maryland community, which prepared her for a lifetime of service as a public health professional, educator, and advocate.
Dr. Robert S. Gold
Founding Dean and Professor Emeritus, UMD School of Public Health
- 35 years on the faculty at University of Maryland School of Public Health including as Chair of the Departments of Behavioral & Community Health and Epidemiology & Biostatistics
- Served as Dean of the former College of Health & Human Performance
- Created the Robert S. and Barbara A. Gold Public Health Innovation Award Endowment and generously supported students and programs
- Education: A.S. (Orange County Community College), B.S. & M.S. (State University of New York at Brockport), Ph.D. (University of Oregon), DrPH (University of Texas)
Bob Gold was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was the first in his family to graduate from grade school, high school, and college. He and Barbara have been married for 48 years and have two children. They currently spend most of their time traveling in their converted cargo van named Luna.
Bob retired in 2021 with 51 years of professional experience in public health having served in leadership positions including with Macro International, Inc., the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; Prince George’s County Hospital System, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Inc., and Institute for the Healthiest Maryland.
Bob founded the UMD SPH Public Health Informatics Research Laboratory. His research focused on health communications and numerous technology development projects in the areas of asthma, cancer prevention, diabetes, HIV prevention, injury and violence prevention.
He has helped oversee and conduct national research studies such as the National Children and Youth Fitness Studies I and II, the National School Health Education Evaluation Study, the School Health Programs and Policies Study, and the National Adolescent Student Health Survey. Most importantly, he is proudest of his experience advising over 40 doctoral students.
Mr. Diego Uriburu
Executive Director, Identity
- Nationally recognized leader in service and advocacy for immigrant Latino youth, including as a White House-selected César E. Chávez Champion of Change
- Collaborator with University of Maryland School of Public Health faculty in the Department of Family Science
- Education: M.S. (University of Belgrano)
Diego Uriburu co-founded Identity, Inc. in 1998 to help immigrant youth fleeing violence, natural disasters, and grinding poverty in Latin America. Today, in pursuit of a just, equitable and inclusive society, Identity creates opportunities for Latino and other historically underserved youth across Montgomery County to realize their highest potential and thrive.
Diego’s lifelong commitment to equity extends beyond his Executive Director duties. In 2019, under his leadership, Identity joined forces with the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP Parents’ Council to form the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence. He serves on the Boards of WorkSource Montgomery, the Montgomery County Positive Youth Development Initiative and the Meyer Foundation. Diego is a member of Montgomery Moving Forward and the Latino Health Steering Committee.
In 2014, the White House selected him as a César E. Chávez Champion of Change. He was honored recently with the Roscoe R. Nix Leadership Award for extraordinary contributions to Montgomery County. Diego was born and raised in Argentina and holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires.
Diego has forged a strong partnership with the University of Maryland School of Public Health (UMD SPH) through projects ranging from trauma-informed care trainings for Identity staff to testing immigrant-specific ACES classifications and updating Identity’s survey instruments. A UMD SPH team is evaluating Identity’s non-clinical community mental health program and the implementation of a Child Trends’ pregnancy prevention and goal setting curriculum, El Camino.
Mr. Edward Woods IV
- Highly recognized entrepreneur and IT sector leader
- Member, University of Maryland School of Public Health Dean’s Council & Robert S. and Barbara A. Gold Innovation Award Selection Committee
- Generous supporter of the Jerry P. Wrenn Undergraduate Scholarship, the Rivest-Dean’s Council Maryland Promise Scholarship, Robert S. and Barbara A. Gold Public Health Innovation Award, and Robin Mockenhaupt Endowed Faculty Fellow in Public Health Practice
- Education: B.S. (University of Maryland University College)
Mr. Edward Woods IV has over twenty-five (25) years of hands-on experience building and managing IT companies, and supporting their customers. Ed founded TerpSys in August 2000 and grew the organization into a leader in the delivery of IT solutions; but equally as important, as a recognized leader in the areas of corporate culture, community service, and corporate responsibility.
Ed has been the hands-on architect of TerpSys’ strong corporate culture, providing a responsible balance between good business, good times, and good deeds.
During its 22 year history, TerpSys has been recognized as a fastest growing, best, great, and philanthropic company in the D.C. metro area; as well as Ed receiving many individual awards. TerpSys and its generous employees have raised and/or donated over $2.5 million dollars to charitable organizations.
In July 2009, TerpSys was named one of the “50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America” by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Great Place to Work Institute, Inc., placing #17 in the Small Business category.
Ed was a walk-on for the 1984 / 1985 Maryland men’s basketball team. He was recognized as Maryland Football’s Distinguished Contributor of the Decade – 2000 to 2010. Ed is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.
Early Career Award Recipient
Ms. Maya A. Walker '13 (Family Science)
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSAgov), HHS
- Former Manager of Health and Wellness Programs for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
- 2021 Recipient, UMD SPH Alumni Network’s Public Health Emerging and Engaging Leaders (PHEEL) Award
- Education: B.S. (University of Maryland), M.S. in progress (Georgetown University)
Maya Walker is a Public Health Analyst for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the Community Based Outreach workforce division. At HRSA Maya works to improve health outcomes and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative, high-value programs. Maya has been able to support community organizations in administering thousands of Covid-19 vaccinations in underserved communities.
Prior to HRSA, Maya was the Manager of Health and Wellness Programs for the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy where she addressed inequities to improve health outcomes through food access and education. Maya managed the only year-round farmers’ market in Ward 7 of Washington, D.C. With the support of her amazing colleagues, she was able to distribute over 3,000 subsidized produce bags and 20,000 meals during the current covid-19 pandemic.
Maya is also currently assisting Black Nurses Rock and the Be the Match campaign to increase bone marrow donations within Black communities. This has created the opportunity for her to continue on the ground outreach to improve health inequities in underserved communities, her deepest passion. She believes that true success is not measured by individual achievements but how you are able to positively impact others.
- Department of Family Science
- Department of Behavioral and Community Health