Honors & Awards

The annual School of Public Health Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Awards celebrate the legacy of public health leader and social activist Dr. Eugene Feingold. Established in 2004, the award recognizes and honors faculty, staff, and students who champion diversity efforts throughout the school, enhance the school’s mission, and contribute positively to the faculty, student, staff, and post-doc environment.

2023 Awardees

Dany Zemmel,
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Staff Award Winner, 2023

Dany ZemmelDany Zemmel stands out for her work leading, creating, and developing resources, training, and engagement opportunities with DEI work. As the Training and Engagement Manager for the Region V Public Health Training Center, Dany has centered her work on the values of DEI, leading the Radical Equity Special Interest Group. This group brings together partners from 6 states to look at approaches to learning, partner engagement and student development to advance racial equity. At SPH, she has facilitated training such as “Public Health Approach to Public Safety: Examples from the Field,” and carried dedication to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into her day-to-day work. Outside of work in the Region V Public Health Training Center, Dany is founding member of the Michigan Chapter of Public Health Awakened, a group of 250+ members throughout Michigan that organizes around issues of social justice and health equity. Dany’s service and work demonstrates broad impact and an effort that goes above and beyond the scope of her position.  She translates a passion for DEI work into practice by seeking numerous ways to engage others in learning while also supporting those leading in these spaces with helpful resources.

David Fuller, Jr. ,
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Student Award Winner, 2023

David Fuller Jr.David Fuller Jr.'s leadership and engagement in fostering a more inclusive community at SPH spans across activities in his department as well as student organizations. David served as a Program Assistant for the Summer Enrichment Program (UMSEP), a Student Fellow at the Griffith Leadership Center, a Research Assistant for the Health Equity Leadership Pipeline Collaborative, and as the Vice President of Public Health Students of African Descent (PHSAD). In April 2022, David was awarded the SPH "Unsung Hero" award by his peers, which honors and recognizes someone who demonstrates a deep commitment to student life at Public Health, makes significant contributions to enhance our school community, and who may not seek or receive much recognition for their work. Throughout his various roles, David has championed DEI efforts by supporting under-resourced communities and community organizations, developing and facilitating DEI programming, promoting health equity and the reduction of health disparities, and working on recruitment and retention efforts of historically marginalized students.

Melissa Creary,
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity FacultyAward Winner, 2023

Melissa CrearyDr. Melissa Creary offers an important model of scholar-advocacy and activism for the SPH. She fully integrates  Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across her research, teaching, and service portfolio. Her vast research on anti-racism includes a 2021 paper in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics examining ethical conceptualizations of justice and social movements surrounding Sickle-Cell Disease in Brazil to identify how health and social policies are bound by socio-historical constraints, leading to Bounded Justice at best. Dr. Creary coined the groundbreaking term and framework of “Bounded Justice,” which  addresses  the entanglement of health, justice, inclusion and citizenship for vulnerable populations. As a leading educator on anti-racism, Dr. Creary is currently developing a multi-part faculty training aimed at addressing racism in public health education alongside her colleagues Dr. Whitney Peoples and Dr. Paul Fleming. Melissa is a trusted colleague and mentor and a well-respected public health scholar and expert whose work has a lasting impact in and outside of the School of Public Health. 

Past Awardees

Kiran Szekeres
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Faculty/Staff Award Winner, 2022

Kiran SzekeresIn 2022, the SPH staff member awarded with the Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Award was Kiran Szekeres, director of the Office of Foundational Learning and Practice in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Szekeres is instrumental in coordinating events for prospective and admitted students in HBHE, mobilizing faculty and staff in welcoming and supporting students. She has been a staff member at Michigan Public Health and in HBHE for more than a decade. Her significant contributions toward advancing diversity and inclusion in the department and within the school makes her highly deserving of this award, said Cleopatra Howard Caldwell, HBHE chair. Dr. Caldwell further remarked that “Ms. Szekeres has consistently taken on her role with excellence and professionalism, and truly embodies the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in making HBHE and Michigan Public Health a welcoming and supportive environment. Her most significant contribution to our department and school is the help and counseling she provides to our students to reach their goals and full educational potential no matter where they are starting from.”

Rachel Morgan
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Student Award Winner, 2022

Rachel MorganRachel Morgan, was the student awardee of the 2022 Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Award. Rachel is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Morgan is a leader in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces within the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the University of Michigan School of Public Health and beyond.Her dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is expressed in her service on both the departmental and school-wide DEI committees, and her tremendous efforts to coordinate DEI related activities involving students, staff, and faculty members. As EHS faculty member Deb Watkins noted, “Rachel Morgan is a strong, dedicated, and active advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our department and in our school. We have no doubt that Rachel is poised to continue to be a leader in the DEI field and in her academic expertise of neurodevelopment and environmental health sciences. Rachel Morgan is well-deserving of the Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Award.”

Cleo CaldwellCleopatra Howard Caldwell
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Faculty/Staff Award Winner, 2021

This year, the faculty award recognized Cleopatra Howard Caldwell, professor and chair of Health Behavior and Health Education. Caldwell has long invested in creating a diverse pipeline of public health professionals. She helped establish and served as director of the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health, one of the first research centers in any school of public health to recognize the importance of the emerging field of racial and social inequalities. And she was director of the Michigan Future Public Health Leaders Program, which has trained over 350 students from underrepresented groups and resulted in dozens of participants being admitted into our graduate programs.

Brandon Bond
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Student Award Winner, 2021

Brandon BondBrandon Bond, a dual-degree master’s student in Health Behavior and Health Education and Social Work, received the student award. Bond is president of the Public Health Student Association, where he led the creation of events to bring people together and support student mental health. He proposed to school leadership the idea of Your Home Base, a formal system of connecting students across departments in small cohorts at a time when connection was difficult due to the pandemic. Bond has collaborated with the school to develop new-student supports and academic success workshops, volunteers as an Admissions Ambassador, serves as a member of several committees and programs at the school and university that promote DEI, and is a PHSAD Alumni Scholar. 

Read more about Bond in First Generation College Graduate’s Ambitions Are Sky High.

Jackie Cormany
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Faculty/Staff Award Winner, 2020

Jackie CormanyJackie Cormany, graduate program coordinator in the Health Behavior and Health Education department, received the staff Feingold Award for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion over the last 23 years of service to the school. Cormany is known by students, staff, and faculty as someone who creates an environment where all students can thrive. Welcoming environments, says Cormany, are "better for all of us and better for public health. We are all working together to keep people healthier. That can start with letting people know they belong here." Cormany's approach to working with students focuses on listening carefully and trying to understand each student's journey. She lets students know that office doors across the department are open and invites constructive feedback as a key to successfully negotiation challenges and changes in the school. Cormany has led initiatives that created new student support resources for emergency situations, internship experiences, and professional development and has worked with the Development and Alumni Engagement team to build scholarships for incoming and continuing students. Read more about Cormany's commitment to our students in You Belong Here: Creating an Environment Where Everyone Thrives.

Anthony Su
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Student Award Winner, 2020

Anthony SuAnthony Su, PhD '20, a recent graduate from the Environmental Health Sciences department's toxicology program, received the student Feingold Award for his passion and tireless dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially his work in creating a more diverse space within EHS. Su serves on both the school-wide and the EHS departmental diversity, equity, and inclusion committees and said it is rewarding to serve on these committees "because the culture in both the EHS department and the entire school embodies well the university’s culture code, which promotes an environment of connection and understanding—and therefore of productivity—for all." Su is a leader in developing and using communication and emotional intelligence skills to support conflict management across the school community. These skills are not only important to supporting more constructive interactions on campus but help everyone involved build better communication skills as public health professionals. Read more about Su's leadership and vision in Safe and Hospitable: The Human Environments that Make the World a Better Place to Learn, Work, and Live.

By championing diversity efforts throughout the school, the Feingold Award aims to ensure and further develop an environment of inclusion and justice at the University of Michigan.

Ebbin Dotson
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Faculty/Staff Award Winner, 2019

Ebbin Dotson,Ebbin Dotson, Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy, was awarded the Feingold Award for his work on the University of Michigan Summer Enrichment Program (UMSEP), the Health Equity Leadership Pipeline Collaborative (the Collaborative), and his tireless commitment to supporting people of color in health care leadership roles through research and mentoring. The UMSEP is a national model for health professions pipeline programs focused on identifying and supporting talented students to become leaders in health care. The Collaborative employs a network of practitioners, consultants, researchers, and students to study health equity issues, primarily the prevalence of people of color in health care leadership roles. Dotson is known for continuing to mentor and support his students after they graduate and enter the fields of health care and public health. He serves as faculty advisor for student organizations and case competitions and organizes extracurricular consulting projects for students seeking experiential learning opportunities as they prepare for internships and job searches.

Cindy Le
Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Student Award Winner, 2019

Cindy LeCindy Le, a master’s student in Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) and a Marvin and Harriet Selin Scholar, was awarded the Feingold Award for her work as a courageous and collegial community organizer, especially her work as a member of the Health Behavior and Health Education DEI Student Action committee. This year, the committee hosted Table Talk, a community-based, idea-generating workshop for students to establish a DEI agenda for HBHE. And to increase transparency and communication across the HBHE department, the committee created DEI DidYaKnow, a weekly newsletter that provides students information about DEI activities and issues inside and outside the classroom that concern them. “I am truly honored to be recognized as the student recipient of the Feingold Award for my work on the committee. Working toward diversity, equity, and inclusion can be a long and tiring battle, but it is worth it. This award is recognition that I and the committee are making an effort and are seen,” said Le.

arline geronimusArline T. Geronimus
Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award Winner, 2016

Arline T. Geronimus, research professor in the Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, and professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health, is known for having proposed and tested the "weathering hypothesis." It posits that the impact of repeated exposure to and high-effort coping with stressors by U.S. racial and ethnic minorities leads to early onset of chronic disease and early biological aging, compared to U.S. whites of the same chronological age.

Her work advances a perspective that population health disparities arise from the qualitatively different life experiences, exposure to stressors, and access to coping resources associated with specific social identity groups in an unequal society.

She is credited for increasing the number of minority doctoral students in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at SPH. She also supervised a disproportionate share of their doctoral dissertations. Geronimus also supported their efforts to win postdoctoral fellowships and faculty positions, while maintaining high academic standards.

"Geronimus has repeatedly demonstrated intellectual excellence and commitment to cultural diversity in all aspects of her work — service, teaching, mentoring and scholarship — has helped increase diversity within her academic units and the university, has solidified a commitment to diversity as part of the university's educational mission, and has relentlessly strived to bring about equity in society,'" wrote Jeffrey Morenoff, director of the Population Studies Center.

Past Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Award Winners 

  • 2018: Jenny Crawford, Health Behavior & Health Education
  • 2018: Katrina Burns, Environmental Health Sciences
  • 2017: Marie O’Neill, Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology
  • 2016: Laura Jadwin-Cakmak, Health Behavior & Health Education
  • 2015: Siobán Harlow, Epidemiology
  • 2014: Lynda Fuerstnau, Health Behavior & Health Education
  • 2013: Amy Schulz, Health Behavior & Health Education
  • 2012: Dana Thomas, Office of Public Health Practice
  • 2011: Toby Citrin, adjunct professor of health management and policy and director of the Center for Public Health and Community Genomics
  • 2010: Barbara Israel, Health Behavior and Health Education, who works in community-based participatory research, empowerment, and social determinants of health.
  • 2007: Richard Lichtenstein, Health Management & Policy; co-PI of the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center
  • 2007: Harold "Woody" Neighbors, Health Behavior and Health Education; director of Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health and director of the Program for Research on Black Americans