Announcing the 2023 Social Justice Awardees

News subtitle

The keynote speaker for the May ceremony is health equity advocate Dr. Uché Blackstock.

Uché Blackstock, Timothy Parker, Alisa Hurwitz, John Turco, Meredith Kelly, and Josie Pinto
Keynote speaker Dr. Uché Blackstock, center, and, clockwise from top right, Social Justice Award honorees Alisa Hurwitz, Tim Parker ’87, Professor Meredith Kelly, Dr. Jack Turco, and Josie Pinto, now studying at the Dartmouth Institute. 

At the annual Social Justice Awards ceremony this spring, Dartmouth will recognize seven individuals and organizations whose work in the areas of civil rights, social and environmental justice, and public health are making outstanding contributions here at Dartmouth and in the broader world.

The keynote speaker at the May 18 event will be physician and thought leader Dr. Uché Blackstock, the founding CEO of New York-based Advancing Health Equity, which works to dismantle racism in health care and close the gap in racial inequities in health care organizations.

Uché Blackstock
(Photo courtesy of Uché Blackstock) 

“Dr. Blackstock has turned her passion and purpose in medicine to address bias and racism in health care. I am delighted to welcome her to campus to help recognize this year’s SJA honorees, several of whom are also fighting courageous battles on issues related to health care and health equity, from gender-affirming care to abortion access,” says Shontay Delalue, senior vice president and senior diversity officer.

A Brooklyn native and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Blackstock has received numerous awards and honors, including the American Medical Women’s Association’s 2021 Presidential Award and the 2021 Harvard Humanist of the Year award.

Blackstock is also a medical contributor for MSNBC and NBC News, and her generational memoir, LEGACY: A Black Physician Reckons with Racism in Medicine, is to be published by Penguin Random House Books in January 2024.

The event is co-sponsored by Institutional Diversity and Equity, the William Jewett Tucker Center, the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact, the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration CommitteeGeisel School of Medicine, and the Dartmouth Cancer Center.

The Social Justice Awards are given in several categories:

  • The Emerging Leadership Award, recognizing individuals who have served less than 10 years in a chosen field of work or are recent graduates.
  • The Holly Fell Sateia Award, celebrating the legacy of the late Holly Fell Sateia, Guarini ’82, vice president for institutional diversity and equity, emerita, who recognized diversity as a vibrant part of Dartmouth’s mission.
  • The Ongoing Commitment Award, honoring an individual who has dedicated between 10 and 20 years to a chosen field.
  • The Student Organization Award, honoring a student group for its commitment to promoting social justice in our community and beyond.

The 2023 honorees include:

The Class of 1987 Peace Justice Respect Committee—Emerging Leadership
Shield that reads "Peace, Justice, Respect" and "Class of 1987"

In early 2021, Timothy Parker ’87 convened a small coalition of classmates—Regina Speed-Bost, Julie Hubble, Peter Murane, Scott Rusert, Holly Silvestri, and Lisa Snyder—to help the Class of 1987 learn about and discuss social justice, including issues of race, racism, gender, class, national origin, sexual orientation, and disability.

Together, the PJR initiative has led a series of class events aimed at addressing the critical need for education about these issues, providing a space for reflection, empowerment, action, and allyship. Last year the group developed a three-week-long Social Justice Immersion course which drew nearly 75 participants and which will be repeated this spring. Group members hosted TED-style talks and tours as part of 35th reunion activities and are producing a series of listening sessions on a variety of topics, including Segregated by Design, The Color of Law, and Representation Matters.

Josie Pinto, MED ’23—Emerging Leadership
Josie Pinto
(Photo courtesy of Josie Pinto) 

Josie Pinto is the founder and executive director of the Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire, a statewide organization that provides financial, emotional, and logistical support to individuals seeking abortion services. The fund, which launched in February 2021, has helped more than 400 New Hampshire residents access abortion, and since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, the organization has also funded patients from 24 states where abortion access has been restricted.

Pinto, who has taught a course on reproductive justice at the University of New Hampshire and is currently earning her master’s of public health at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, majored in public health and women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she served as president of the UMass Students for Reproductive Justice, and trained as a full-spectrum doula. Post-graduation, she worked with the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, as a health worker at Equality Health Center, and as the political director of New Hampshire Youth Movement.

Alisa Hurwitz—Ongoing Commitment
Alisa Hurwitz
(Photo courtesy of Alisa Hurwitz) 

Psychologist Alisa Hurwitz provides psychotherapeutic care related to pediatric and adolescent endocrinology in Dartmouth Health’s Transgender Health Program.

After earning her BA in psychology from Brandeis and her PhD from Long Island University, Hurwitz completed her APA-accredited internship at Mercy First Home in New York. Her later training focused on family therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and she developed a focus on individuals on the autism spectrum, trauma, and family therapy. Because of the high incidence of gender diversity among people with autism, she began to see many transgender, nonbinary, and gender-diverse patients and to recognize the need for therapists able to work with trans populations.

In addition to her clinical practice, Hurwitz serves on the board of the LGBTQ National Help Center, a nonprofit that provides peer support and resources to LGBTQ individuals across the lifespan, and uses her passion for musical theater to share her professional knowledge and to create a platform for conversations about mental health.

Dr. John Turco—Lifetime Achievement
John Turco
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Dr. John “Jack” Turco, who served as medical director of the Dartmouth College Health Service for more than 30 years, is a professor of endocrinology at the Geisel School of Medicine and the director of Dartmouth Health’s Transgender Health Program. He joined the faculty of the then-Dartmouth Medical School and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic in 1979 after completing his residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. He has helped develop curriculum to train the next generation of physicians in the care of transgender and gender-diverse patients and has helped Dartmouth Health colleagues draft and adopt policies to make the institution more welcoming and inclusive.

Turco completed his undergraduate degree in biology at Harvard and earned his MD at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. His many awards include the 2013 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation/Geisel School of Medicine for his significant contributions to underserved populations. A former standout athlete and respected local coach, Turco received the Distinguished American Award from the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2008.

Meredith Kelly—Holly Fell Sateia Award
Meredith Kelly
(Photo courtesy of Meredith Kelly) 

Professor of Earth Sciences Meredith Kelly studies the terrestrial record of past climate change. Her ongoing projects in the Americas and East Africa involve field and laboratory research to develop well-dated records of the former extents of glaciers and ice sheets.  She also obtains lake and bog sediment records and uses these to reconstruct past environmental conditions, and frequently involves students at all levels in her research.

Kelly, who completed her undergraduate degree at Tufts and went on to earn her master’s of science from the University of Maine and her PhD from the University of Bern, Switzerland, is committed to working with Dartmouth students, staff, and faculty to increase diversity in earth sciences and throughout the institution.

Pi Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta—Student Organization Award
Pi Theta Delta seal

The Pi Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. was chartered at Dartmouth in 1985 and continues to uphold the legacy of its 22 founders, who had a vision of sisterhood, service, and academic excellence. The sorority currently has over 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters worldwide.

As part of the national Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an historically Black sorority founded at Howard University in 1913, the chapter at Dartmouth supports established programs in local communities throughout the world and is committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service, with a primary focus on the Black community. It is being recognized for its social justice programming efforts, including educating individuals on the experiences of international students, uplifting marginalized voices, and bringing awareness to local voter rights issues within the local community.

The Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian Students’ Association—Student Organization Award
MENASA logo, with green leaves

MENASA was founded to build community among students of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian descent at the Geisel School of Medicine. Currently led by Fatima Haidar, MED ’23; Ahmed El-Hussein, MED ’25; and Omar Sajjad, MED ’26, MENASA is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health of the local and global communities that its members serve, and instilling in members a passion for becoming culturally competent physicians who learn from and advocate for vulnerable patient populations.  

Register for the Social Justice Awards ceremony.

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