Each year, the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) honors students and faculty for their incredible achievements and contributions to public health.
This year, Dr. Chrissy Chard received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching award, which for anyone who has taken one of Dr. Chard’s classes, does not come as a surprise. Dr. Chard’s style of teaching is engaging, and she offers many perspectives to enhance learning. Students feel empowered in her classes and know that they can always reach out for guidance from Dr. Chard.
“I was really humbled and honored to receive this award, particularly during this very trying year. My teaching philosophy has always been based in an ethic of care and love, always trying to let students know how much I care about them as human beings, before I care what they know as students. It felt as though this year it was particularly important to students to feel that” said Dr. Chard.
Dr. Molly Gutilla received the Public Health Practice Faculty award this year for her front-line work with COVID-19. She has been involved in the Larimer County COVID-19 response by providing her epidemiological perspectives by analyzing local, state, and national data, providing input on public messaging, and offering guidance on protocols for local testing.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work alongside public health professionals that serve our community. This was a challenging year for so many working in our field and I have so much gratitude for those that work to protect and promote population health each day” said Dr. Gutilla.
Dr. Lauren Shomaker received the Colorado State University Monfort Professor award, which is one of CSU’s highest honors awarded to faculty who are considered rising stars in their fields. She will retain this designation for two years and receive $50,000 per year to further her teaching and research.
Dr. Shomaker’s research focuses on the connection between mental health and physical health in teenagers, and how mental and behavioral health interventions address problems like depression and risk of type 2 diabetes. Many MPH students have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Shomaker and her research over the years as Graduate Research Assistants.
“The Monfort Award will help us to leverage existing clinical trial data to more comprehensively study stress physiology and stress biomarkers and it will help us extend the work we’re doing on mental-physical connections to teenagers with type 1 diabetes. We’re going to be investigating how treating depression, anxiety, and maladaptive eating behaviors in teens with type 1 diabetes might help improve diabetes health outcomes” said Dr. Shomaker.
Additionally, 2021 CSU MPH graduate Raeven Clockston received the ColoradoSPH Outstanding Contribution by a Student award. Throughout her MPH, Raeven worked alongside other students in the program to dismantle the culture of white supremacy and oppressive practices in higher education. She helped form the Anti-Racism Student Action Group and avidly advocated for social justice, equity, and inclusion within the ColoradoSPH and public health community.
“As a Black woman in academia, I have experienced a lot of harm in this setting, and it is important to me that other BIPOC students don’t share that experience in the future. Public health programs have a responsibility to educate students on anti-oppressive practices, social justice, community engagement, health equity, and decolonization. This prepares public health graduates to actively work toward a society in which every individual can attain the highest level of health possible without the influence of injustice and inequity” said Raeven.
Raeven has now stepped into a new role as the Public Health Equity and Practice Coordinator for the ColoradoSPH. We are excited that she will be continuing this important work and promoting continuous learning and self-reflection to be a voice for equity.
This year’s award recipients highlight some of the inspiring work being done by both students and faculty in the ColoradoSPH, and the importance of being change agents contributing and giving back to the community. Congratulations to Dr. Chard, Dr. Gutilla, Dr. Shomaker, and Raeven and all other award recipients!
Written by Megan Jansson