John Graham and HBHE receive awards from Carolina Center for Public Service

April 28, 2006
Advocating on behalf of HIV and AIDS awareness, creating partnerships with N.C. communities to solve locally identified problems and addressing challenges faced by the older population are only a few of the ways University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students, faculty, staff and organizations help the surrounding community.UNC’s Carolina Center for Public Service recognized these and other initiatives with awards for exemplary scholarship and service benefiting North Carolina: Five people and two UNC units were honored at the center’s annual awards program April 28 on the UNC campus.

Individuals and organizations campuswide were nominated for the awards, and two committees made up of students, faculty, staff and community representatives selected the recipients.

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

Florence Soltys, who received the fourth annual Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, is clinical associate professor in the School of Social Work. She also chairs the Services to the Older Adult and Their Families program in the school and is an adjunct associate professor in the School of Nursing and associate clinical professor in the School of Medicine.

Dr. Ned Brooks

Dr. Ned Brooks

Named for Dr. Ned Brooks, a UNC faculty member and administrator since 1972, the award recognizes a UNC faculty or staff member who has built a sustained record of community service through individual efforts and the involvement and guidance of others. Brooks is currently a clinical associate professor for the Department of Health Policy and Administration, UNC School of Public Health.

Soltys is being recognized for her contributions in promoting services for senior citizens through her many years of leadership in the Orange-Chatham Coalition for Better Geriatric Care. She has led diverse groups in the community to forge an alliance in the service of older citizens. The coalition has been instrumental in assuring, through legislative change, that proper guardianship policies are in effect and elder abuse laws are tightened. Soltys also is being recognized for her work with the Central Orange Adult Day Health Program and as the chairwoman of the Orange County Master Aging Plan.

The FPG Child Development Institute and the School of Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior and Health Education received Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards. These awards honor UNC units that demonstrate exemplary engaged scholarship (the application of university expertise to address community needs) in service to the state of North Carolina.

The FPG Child Development Institute is being recognized for Partnerships for Inclusion (PFI), a statewide technical assistance project that promotes the inclusion of young children ages birth to 5 years who have disabilities and their families in all aspects of community life. Now 15 years old, PFI offers an array of services in all 100 N.C. counties, including consultation to improve early childhood program access and quality, intensive training sessions and follow-up, assistance to community agencies engaged in strategic planning and program evaluation. PFI works annually with 6,000 early childhood professionals statewide.

Dr. Geni Eng

Dr. Geni Eng
Kate Shirah

Kate Shirah

The Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC School of Public Health, received the award for Action-Oriented Community Diagnosis (AOCD), a required course for its first-year master’s students. Using concepts and methods from anthropology and epidemiology, AOCD is a service-learning course that teaches students how to plan community-based research.

Each year, AOCD’s two course directors (Dr. Geni Eng and Kate Shirah) receive many requests from Triangle-area communities asking for help in doing community assessments, uncovering the needs of communities. During the last 25 years, 1,060 students have worked with 262 communities.

Students Laura Malone and James Wallace and staff members Blair Turner and John Graham received the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, recognizing individual students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts.

Malone, a junior double major in biomedical engineering and mathematics from Cary, was the co-director for the first Duke-Carolina Basketball Marathon, which raised more than $60,000. The marathon serves children in North Carolina with life-threatening illnesses at both Duke University Medical Center and UNC Hospitals with the help of partner organization Hoop Dreams Basketball Academy. She helped develop a mentoring and support program in which Duke and Carolina work together to provide direct support to terminally ill children, as well as raise money to help Hoop Dreams.

Wallace, a third-year medical student from Charlotte, is the former co-director of the Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC). SHAC is a student-run organization that provides free health care and social services to local residents and communities. Wallace also was instrumental in developing and implementing SHAC Outreach, a project aimed at providing ongoing health services through partnerships with local communities.

As co-director, Wallace directed the efforts of 40 program coordinators and more than 650 volunteers in providing free clinical services to 1,800 patients in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community during the 2005 academic year.

Turner is an AIDS clinical trials unit screener in the School of Medicine. She organizes free HIV testing in the community – at Festifall, World AIDS Day events, UNC, N.C. State University, Apple Chill and the Latino Health Fair. The outreach events provide a free, easy and non-medical setting to reach people who may not otherwise be tested.

Dr. John Graham

Dr. John Graham

Graham, deputy director of the School of Public Health’s N.C. Institute for Public Health, chairs the School’s incubator advisory board. The Public Health Incubator Collaboratives are regional groups of North Carolina local health departments that band together to solve locally identified public health problems. Graham has engaged county health directors, coordinated the formation of the incubators and offered insights on strategic planning and projects. He helps health directors establish their incubators and travels the state to understand issues faced by the groups.

The Carolina Center for Public Service leads UNC’s engagement efforts and service to the state of North Carolina and beyond by linking the expertise and energy of faculty, staff, and students to the needs of the people.


Carolina Center for Public Service contact: Dr. Lynn Blanchard, (919) 843-7568 or

For further information please contact Ramona DuBose either by phone at 919-966-7467 or by e-mail at