September 24, 2017

ACU Announces 2017 Award Recipients

ACU Names 2017 Award Recipients
Winners honored at the 2017 ACU Annual Conference

McLean, VA – The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) awarded its highest honors, the Clinician of the Year, Organizational Excellence, the Congressional Champion, and the Top Poster Presentation during the 2017 Annual Conference held in Washington, DC.

“The ACU awards recognize outstanding achievement in providing culturally competent, compassionate health care to underserved populations,” said Craig A. Kennedy, ACU Executive Director. “This year’s award recipients exemplify the highest values of community engagement, leadership and dedication to the care of underserved populations. We thank them all for their tremendous work, and congratulate each on their award.”

Selections by the Awards Committee are based on an evaluation of category-specific criteria. The 2017 ACU Award winners are:

Clinician of the Year
The Clinician of the Year is Dr. Cheryl Ho, a primary care physician who has worked in homeless healthcare for over a decade. Valuing outreach to all communities, Dr. Ho spearheaded the creation of a mobile clinic for migrant farmworkers, an outreach clinic where medical, mental, and social needs are all addressed in one place. Using her skills from her addiction medicine board certification, she led the effort to start a multi-disciplinary Buprenorphine clinic to help individuals struggling with opiate addiction. Dr. Ho also led the effort to start Santa Clara County’s Medical Respite Program, a unique public-private partnership that serves clients discharged from seven community hospitals, clients who needed a place to continue healing other than the streets. Together with her team, she also started a Social Medicine course, where she teaches and mentors providers-in-training about the social determinants of health. Dr. Ho is an outstanding healthcare provider who is committed to reducing healthcare disparities in the community as well as hospital setting, while mentoring the future generation of providers.

Organizational Excellence
The Organizational Excellence Award is given to Finger Lakes Community Health in Penn Yann, New York for their dedication to providing high quality, comprehensive health care to underserved and special populations. As a primary care health center, they are committed to treating the whole patient collaboratively, focusing on wellness and prevention and coordinating primary care. They work directly with the community to provide education about preventive care and to affect policies that help improve access and quality of care. They are a passionate group of individuals, dedicated to providing culturally competent, team-based health care services to 42 rural counties in upstate New York.

Congressional Champion
The 2017 Congressional Champion is Congressman Chris Stewart for his efforts to protect and strengthen the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) program. Congressman Stewart represents Utah’s Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is leading the bipartisan effort to reauthorize funding for the NHSC – which provides care to more than 11 million underserved people each year.

Poster Session Presentation Winner
The top poster presentation was “Sickle Cell Disease in Florida: Geographic Disparities in Access to Care” by Eric Walker, a medical student at Florida State University College of Medicine. The top poster presentation will be able to work directly with the editor of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved on an article for publication in the Journal.

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The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved is a transdisciplinary organization established in 1996 by participants and alumni of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).  ACU’s members are comprised of clinicians, health care organizations, and advocates united in a common mission to improve America’s underserved populations and to enhance the development and support of the health care clinicians serving these populations. Programs include professional education, clinical tools, advocacy, patient education, training and technical assistance. For more information, please visit our website at www.clinicians.org.