, Colo., November 9, 2010 —
Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, PhD, MPH, is winner of the American Public Health Association’s 2010 Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award for young professionals, presented at the Association’s 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver.
The award recognizes a health worker or student, 30 or younger, who has demonstrated potential in the health field by challenging traditional public health policy or practice in a creative and positive way.
Rodriguez-Diaz is a research fellow and instructor in the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Health’s Division for Global Health Research at the Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research. Prior to joining the university, he was manager of health education and health promotion services at the non-profit Correctional Health Services, an organization responsible for providing health care to more than 12,000 prisoners in the Puerto Rican correctional system.
In collaboration with other community leaders and academicians, Rodriguez-Diaz has helped implement innovative ways to address the public health issues of disenfranchised populations, including incarcerated men and women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. He has built community/academia partnerships to address major sexual health issues in Puerto Rico, including sexual health education and HIV prevention efforts.
His work with the Puerto Rican Legislature addressing both inmates’ health and issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population has wielded tremendous influence on policies that recognize social justice, equity and protection of human rights. He has collaborated with such organizations as the International Association for Physicians in AIDS Care, the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, among others.
His doctoral thesis focused on the public health impact of the Puerto Rico sodomy law, and his leadership was crucial in defeating a proposed Constitutional
amendment in Puerto Rico to define marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.
Rodriguez-Diaz developed the health curricula for the Ramos and Morales Correctional Academy of the Carlos Albizu University, and he has worked closely with the Correctional Health Program of the Department of Health of Puerto Rico to design interventions that increase the prevention of hepatitis C infection among inmates. He continues to conduct seminars for correctional personnel on inmates’ health issues.
Rodriguez-Diaz recently cofounded WellComm Group Inc., a health and promotion and health education consulting firm providing services to public, private and non-for-profit health related organizations in Puerto Rico and abroad. The goal is to provide young and talented individuals an opportunity to collaborate in efforts to protect and improve the health status of targeted populations.
He is an APHA Governing Councilor representing the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section and also is a member of the LGBT Caucus of Public Health Professionals.
“He is, without a doubt, one of Puerto Rico’s most promising and well-rounded young leaders,” said Geraldo A. Flores, director of legislative affairs for Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives.
He received his MPH from the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Health and a PhD in public health with a focus of community health promotion and education at Walden University’s college of Health Sciences. He also is an alumnus of the Summer Enrichment Program of the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He is a licensed public health educator and has been honored for his work by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, the Society for Public Health Education and the Pan American Health Organization, among others.