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IIMS Community Engagement Hero Awards

This awards program recognizes outstanding individuals who have worked as part of a community and research partnership built on a foundation of reciprocal learning and trust for the improved health and well-being of South Texas communities.  The possible award categories include: Outstanding Student Award, Outstanding Community Partner Award, Outstanding Research Partner Award, and Outstanding Community Health Improvement Project.  Selected awardees will receive a $500 domestic travel award to be used for a future meeting or conference.  Community members, healthcare practitioners, and research faculty, staff, and or trainees who are actively engaged in a community and research partnership dedicated to addressing health priorities in our South Texas region are eligible. Below is a list of our 2017 awardees. 


2017 Outstanding Student Award - This award recognizes a student who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and follow-through as part of a community service learning project or internship that has created a tangible benefit for a community and academic partnership. 

Awardee:   Luyang Jin

Partnership: YMCA, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, and UTHealth School of Public Health


2017 Outstanding Community Partner Award - This award recognizes community members who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and devoted their time, talents, and expertise for improving their community’s health and well-being.

Awardee:  Olga Martínez

Partnership:  Villa Coronado Neighborhood Association and San Antonio Metropolitan Health District


2017 Outstanding Research Partner Award - This award recognizes research faculty, staff, and/or trainees who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment for collaboratively developing projects that promote leadership and shared learning to address community health concerns.

Awardee:  Ana Luiza Allegretti, PhD, OTR

Partnership:  Morgan’s Wonderland and UT Health San Antonio School of Health Professions


2017 Outstanding Community Health Improvement Project - This award recognizes outstanding health improvement projects that address community-identified health concerns.  Single projects or a series of projects focused on a community health priority qualify. 

Awardee:  Janna Lesser, RN, PhD – Principal Investigator and the South Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program Office (Janna Lesser, Sandra Duggan, Joe Zapata, Andrea Moreno-Vasquez) and the South Texas AHEC Center Directors (Julie Bazan- Mid Rio Grande Border AHEC, Belinda Flores- South Coastal AHEC, Armando Lopez- Lower Rio Grande Valley AHEC, Rosa Martinez – Southwest Border AHEC, and Paula Winkler – South Central AHEC.)


2016 IIMS Community Engagement Hero Awardees