Public Service Center Recognizes Individuals, Efforts Making a Difference

Five individuals and two UNC units have been honored with this year’s awards presented by UNC’s Carolina Center for Public Service for exemplary scholarship and service benefiting North Carolina.

Florence Soltys ’84 (MSW), clinical associate professor in the School of Social Work, received the fourth annual Ned Brooks Award for Public Service. Soltys also chairs the Services to the Older Adult and Their Families program in the school and is an adjunct associate professor in the School of Nursing and associate clinical professor in the School of Medicine.

Soltys was being recognized for contributions in promoting services for senior citizens through her years of leadership in the Orange-Chatham Coalition for Better Geriatric Care. Soltys also was being recognized for her work with the Central Orange Adult Day Health Program and as chairwoman of the Orange County Master Aging Plan.

Named for Brooks, a UNC faculty member and administrator since 1972, the award recognizes a UNC faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and the involvement and guidance of others.

The FPG Child Development Institute and the School of Public Health’s department of health behavior and health education received Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards. These awards recognize UNC units that demonstrate exemplary engaged scholarship – the application of University expertise to address community needs – in service to the state of North Carolina.

The FPG Child Development Institute was being recognized for Partnerships for Inclusion, a statewide technical assistance project that promotes the inclusion of young children ages birth to 5 years who have disabilities and their families in all aspects of community life. Now 15 years old, the project offers an array of services in all 100 N.C. counties, including consultation to improve early childhood program access and quality, intensive training sessions and follow-up, assistance to community agencies engaged in strategic planning and program evaluation. It works annually with 6,000 early childhood professionals statewide.

The department of health behavior and health education received the award for Action-Oriented Community Diagnosis, a required course for its first-year master’s students. Using concepts and methods from anthropology and epidemiology, Action-Oriented Community Diagnosis is a service-learning course that teaches students how to plan community-based research. In the past 25 years, 1,060 students have worked with 262 communities.

Students Laura Malone and James Wallace and staff members Blair Turner and John Graham received the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, recognizing individual students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts.

Malone, a junior double major in biomedical engineering and mathematics from Cary, was the co-director for the first Duke-Carolina Basketball Marathon, which raised more than $60,000. The marathon serves children in North Carolina with life-threatening illnesses at both Duke University Medical Center and UNC Hospitals with the help of partner organization Hoop Dreams Basketball Academy. She helped develop a mentoring and support program in which Duke and Carolina work together to provide direct support to terminally ill children, as well as raise money to help Hoop Dreams.

Wallace, a third-year medical student from Charlotte, is the former co-director of the Student Health Action Coalition, is a student-run organization that provides free health care and social services to local residents and communities. Wallace also was instrumental in developing and implementing a project aimed at providing ongoing health services through partnerships with local communities.

As co-director, Wallace directed the efforts of 40 program coordinators and more than 650 volunteers in providing free clinical services to 1,800 patients in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community in the 2005 academic year.

Turner is an AIDS clinical trials unit screener in the medical school. She organizes free HIV testing in the community at various events. The outreach events provide a free, easy and nonmedical setting to reach people who may not otherwise be tested.

Graham, deputy director of the School of Public Health-based N.C. Institute for Public Health, chairs the school’s incubator advisory board. The Public Health Incubator Collaboratives are regional groups of North Carolina local health departments that band together to solve locally identified public health problems. Graham has engaged county health directors, coordinated the formation of the incubators and offered insights on strategic planning and projects. He helps health directors establish their incubators and travels the state to understand issues faced by the groups.

Individuals and organizations campuswide were nominated for the awards, and two committees made up of students, faculty, staff and community representatives selected the recipients.

“The nomination and selection process, as always, highlighted the scope and depth of how Carolina reaches throughout the state to make a difference,” said Lynn Blanchard ’85 (MPH, ’89 PhD), director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “The recipients of this year’s Ned Brooks, Bryan and Office of the Provost awards exemplify what is best about Carolina.”

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