Jan. 20, 2014
Victor J. Schoenbach, PhD, was been named an inaugural recipient of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Martin Luther King Unsung Hero Award.
The award, presented by UNC’s Diversity and Multicultural Affairs office and the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration committee, was established to recognize those who have made a positive difference in others’ lives through significant contributions to social justice, equity and/or diversity.
Schoenbach, associate professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been a UNC faculty member since 1980. In his private and professional lives, he is a relentless advocate for the underprivileged and underserved. He has conducted research in health care access and health inequities, and he is an award-winning teacher who has mentored student leaders at the Gillings School for nearly three decades, particularly those involved in planning and executing the Minority Student Caucus’ annual Minority Health Conference, now in its 35th year.
Charla Hodges and Maryka Lier, co-chairs of the 2014 UNC Minority Health Conference, say Schoenbach is an invaluable support to the student leadership of the conference.
“His passion and commitment to this historical event and to minority health at the Gillings School is inspiring and contagious,” they say. “He is a true example of a servant leader, happier to be behind the scenes than on center stage, providing encouragement and advice to all of us and celebrating the efforts of the students who put on this event every year. We are extremely grateful for all his help and guidance.”
“I am truly honored, humbled and grateful to have my efforts recognized with this award,” Schoenbach said. “It is fundamentally a recognition of the importance of the many accomplishments by people – such as the Minority Student Caucus and my colleagues planning the National Health Equity Research Webcasts – whose work I have had the privilege of promoting for nearly 25 years. This award is shared by all of us, and I thank them for enabling me to play a part.”
Schoenbach accepted the award on Monday, Jan. 20, at the University’s MLK Celebration Keynote and Awards event in Memorial Hall Auditorium, on the UNC campus.