The School of Public Health’s Eugene Feingold Excellence in Diversity Award helps celebrate the legacy of public health leader and social activist Eugene Feingold. Feingold was professor of Health Management and Policy at Michigan Public Health and was active in community organizations concerned with civil liberties, poverty, and racial discrimination.
Established in 2004, the Feingold Award recognizes and honors faculty, staff, and students who champion diversity efforts throughout the school and contribute positively to an environment of inclusion.
This year’s staff Feingold Award was awarded to Jenny Crawford, executive secretary for the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Crawford serves as the department’s staff representative to the school-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) committee and is known as an action-oriented colleague who moves initiatives forward with equal commitment to ideas from faculty, staff, and students. She leads a monthly book club that discusses diversity-related books and recently instituted a current-events dialogue series to provide a community forum to discuss important topics.
Crawford brings together a diverse range of people in the department to help build a culture of connection. “Jenny has been a leader in our department to engage in meaningful and substantive discussions that critically examine structural challenges to equity and diversity on campus,” said Amy Schulz, professor of Health Behavior and Health Education.
Crawford says our differences make us stronger as a community: “I am incredibly honored to receive the Feingold Award, and I truly believe community building is the key to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion. Coming together and getting to know each other—with our varying opinions, perspectives, and life histories—is priceless.”
Katrina Burns, a doctoral student in Environmental Health Sciences, is the very first student recipient of the Feingold Award. Burns serves on the departmental and school-wide DE&I committees and is known for her tireless work coordinating ambitious DE&I-related activities for students, staff, and faculty. She initiated and organized her department’s first DE&I town hall in 2016 and initiated the department’s DE&I committee, personally recruiting and inspiring students to get involved.
Burns is also known for passionate and effective research efforts to protect the safety and health of laboratory workers in all settings, particularly among groups that are vulnerable or disadvantaged. “Katrina’s efforts to do research on laboratory safety—an important issue that affects many but has not historically received sufficient attention—are badly needed in order to protect students, staff, and faculty both at the university and elsewhere,” said Dana Dolinoy, NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences and professor of Nutritional Sciences.
Burns says that success in diversity, equity, and inclusion mean an unwavering dedication to excellence, integrity, consistency, patience, fairness, persistence, and courage for all of us. “And that success is not determined by how much we know, but the willingness to learn. This willingness is embodied in my colleagues on the Environmental Health Sciences DE&I departmental committee. I share this recognition with them and with the Environmental Health Sciences department, and am grateful for their support. I am honored to have begun our journey, but together, through our commitment to each other and the work we do in the Environmental Health Sciences department, we are seekers of universal love for all of humanity, creating a path towards the future vision of DE&I for Environmental Health Sciences, Michigan Public Health and the University of Michigan.”
This story was originally published by the University of School of Public Health.