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News Release

For immediate use

April 27, 2007

Public service awards honor those who make a difference

CHAPEL HILL – Reaching out to North Carolina’s Latin American community, addressing Native American health inequities and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS are only a few of the ways University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students, faculty, staff and organizations are helping to address community need.

The Carolina Center for Public Service at UNC-Chapel Hill is recognizing these and other efforts at its annual awards luncheon. Four individuals and two Carolina units will receive awards for exemplary scholarship and service benefiting North Carolina at noon today (April 27, 2007).

Individuals and organizations from across campus were nominated for the awards, and three committees made up of students, faculty, staff and community representatives selected the recipients.

“The nomination and selection process, as always, highlighted the breadth and depth of how Carolina reaches throughout the state to make a difference,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service. “The recipients of this year’s Ned Brooks, Robert Bryan and Office of the Provost awards exemplify what is best about Carolina.”

The Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, named for Ned Brooks, a faculty member and administrator at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1972, recognizes a faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and promoted the involvement and guidance of others.

The recipient of the fifth annual Brooks award is Sharon Mújica, who joined the Institute of Latin American Studies in 1985. For more than 20 years, Mújica has actively collaborated with institute directors and staff in developing a series of programs that have made the institute what it is today, particularly in the area of outreach to the community and the public schools. She is being recognized for her many accomplishments, including organizing the annual Latin American Film Festival; teaching NC K-12 and post-secondary educators about Latin American and Caribbean culture, history and language; working with local museums and community organizations to bring Latin American art to Triangle communities; and working with local organizations to raise money for impoverished Latin American countries. Mújica also has been a pivotal figure in the UNC-Duke Latin American Studies Consortium, serving as its outreach director since 1991.

The department of psychiatry in the School of Medicine and the Native Health Initiative will receive Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards. These awards honor units that demonstrate exemplary engaged scholarship (the application of university expertise to address community needs) in service to the state of North Carolina.

The department of psychiatry is being recognized for its Outreach and Support Intervention Services (OASIS). OASIS is a specialized treatment program that identifies and treats individuals in the early stages of a psychotic illness, with the goal of increasing a sustained recovery. The services provided include assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, community support and family support and education. 

The Native Health Initiative (NHI) is being honored for addressing the health inequities faced by American Indians in North Carolina by using the unique resources within this population to address health concerns. The initiative was created in 2004 as a partnership between health professions students and North Carolina’s American Indian communities. In two years of work, the initiative has involved five North Carolina tribes and recorded more than 10,000 volunteer hours by health professions students and tribal members.

Students Janet López and Nicole Norfleet and faculty member Giselle Corbie-Smith, M.D., will receive the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, which recognizes individual students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts.

López, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in Culture, Curriculum and Change in the School of Education from Pueblo, Colo., is honored for her contributions as director of the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI). This partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill and Jordan Matthews High School in Siler City promotes equity and access to the North Carolina educational system for all students by pairing UNC-Chapel Hill sophomores with Latino sophomores at Jordan Matthews for a three-year mentoring relationship.

Norfleet, a sophomore from Voorhees, N.J., started “Suits for Success” when she arrived at Carolina last year. The program gives at-risk high school students in Durham the opportunity to ask Carolina students questions about attending college and to receive new business suits donated by local businesses.

Corbie-Smith, an associate professor in the School of Medicine, is the principal investigator for Project GRACE, a collaborative partnership working to eliminate health disparities in communities in Edgecombe and Nash counties. Using a community-based participatory research model, Corbie-Smith works with community groups and individuals, seeking interventions that will be acceptable to the community as well as effective in reducing the incidence and spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Carolina Center for Public Service engages and supports the faculty, students, and staff of the university in meeting the needs of North Carolina. The center strengthens the university’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.

Carolina Center for Public Service contact: Lynn Blanchard, (919) 843-7570 or blanchard@unc.edu
News Services contact: Susan Houston, (919) 962-8415 or susan_houston@unc.edu