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Public Health Recognition Awards

Man in suit accepting award from a woman in a gray blazer
Man in suit accepting award from a woman in a gray blazer

The Section gives out Public Health Recognition Awards for individuals, organizations, and students each year.


Student Recognition Award:

The Student Recognition Award is given annually to a graduate or professional student who demonstrates distinguished leadership and excellence among peers and who makes a significant contribution to public health promotion in the local community beyond the university setting.


Individual Recognition Award:

Eligible individuals should have made substantial contributions to the health of the community through their work in any aspect of public health.


Organization Recognition Award:

Eligible organizations are private, public, non-profit, faith-based, or public-private partnerships whose mission targets enhancing the health of citizens, neighborhoods, and/or communities in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Past Award Recipients

  • Individual Recognition Award: Cheryl Bettigole, MD, MA, MPH

    Dr. Cheryl Bettigole's tenure as the Commissioner for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has been marked by significant contributions to public health and community well-being. As a seasoned family physician and former director of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Dr. Bettigole brought a comprehensive approach to her leadership role. During her three years at the helm, she navigated the city through the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating exemplary crisis management and resilience. Under her direction, the department also crafted a five-year strategic plan focusing on equity and improved access to primary care, while also preparing for future public health challenges. Notably, Dr. Bettigole spearheaded efforts to respond to mass displacement events, aiding both local and migrant populations and ensuring their access to healthcare services. Her dedication to public health has not only seen the renewal of the department’s accreditation, but has also led to innovative care models for migrants, truly reflecting her commitment to serving Philadelphia’s diverse community.

    Student Recognition Award: Kristen Sokoloski

    Kristen Sokoloski is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a concentration in public health analytics at Thomas Jefferson University. She is enrolled in Jefferson's College of Population Health. Prior to her graduate studies, Kristen obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to being an MPH student, Kristen works as a Development Associate at Jefferson Health. Her role is within Jefferson's Office of Institutional Advancement. She is eager to develop essential quantitative and analytical skills through her MPH coursework to prepare her for a future career as an epidemiologist. Kristen is passionate about using her education to identify and bring attention to health disparities at the population level.

    Organization Recognition Award: Latino Health Health Collective at Drexel University

    In March 2020, faculty from Drexel University and representatives from the Department of Public Health and Latino-serving organizations in Philadelphia began bi-weekly virtual meetings to address COVID-19 needs within the Latino community. This initiative has since expanded to over 60 organizations, which now also tackles broader social, economic, and health issues affecting local Latinos. They meet monthly to address public health concerns, monitor health disparities, and share resources to support the Latino population in the area. Their mission is to achieve health equity and reduce health disparities for Latinos in Philadelphia through collaboration and advocacy.

  • Individual Recognition Award: Rosemary Frasso, PhD, MPH, FCPP; Thomas Jefferson University

    Organization Recognition Award: Code Red PA (

    Student Recognition Award: Masha Morozov, University of Pennsylvania

  • No awards given due to COVID-19 pandemic pause in activities.

  • Individual Recognition Award: Thomas J. Nestel, III

    Organization Recognition Award: PennEnvironment (

    Student Recognition Award: Tolulope Oyetunde, University of Pennsylvania

  • Individual Recognition Award: Jose Benitez, MSW, Executive Director, Prevention Point Philadelphia; President and Treasurer, Safehouse Philadelphia

    Organization Recognition Award: Public Citizens for Children and Youth:

    Student Recognition Award: Fatima Jackson, La Salle University

  • Individual Recognition Award: James Plumb, MD, MPH, Jefferson College of Population Health

    Organization Recognition Award: Philadelphia Department of Prisons

    Student Recognition Award: Elaine Tran, University of Pennsylvania

  • Individual Recognition Award: Robert Simmons, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH, Jefferson University

    Organization Recognition Award: LaSalle Neighborhood Nursing Center

    Student Recognition Award: Alia Salam, Jefferson University

  • Individual Recognition Award: Amy Jessop, PhD, MPH, Prevention Point Philadelphia

    Organization Recognition Award: Healthy NewsWorks

    Student Recognition Award: Karie Youngdahl, Jefferson University

A list of past winners can be provided upon request by email to