RWJF Award for Health Equity

Honoring leaders who are changing systems and showing us that solutions at the community level can lead to health equity.

Honoring leaders who are changing systems and showing us that solutions at the community level can lead to health equity.

Information for Nominations

RWJF has funded nine national membership organizations representing varied sectors to administer the awards program over seven years (2016–2022). Visit the FAQs for more information.

Meet the 2019 Winners

These champions are working across sectors to ensure that everyone has opportunities where we live, learn, work and play.

Adrianna Lint, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity Winner

Arianna Innuritegui-Lint of Arianna’s Center

Winner selected by AIDS United 

Arianna Innuritegui-Lint founded Arianna’s Center to empower the trans community in South Florida. The Center is one of the few organizations in the state that is led by and anchored within the transgender community. It offers programs and services tailored to its clients' needs such as helping clients access anti-HIV medication, study for their GED, or find emergency housing after being released from jail or a detention center. Through her work, Lint, also a transgender woman, has worked to educate institutions and individuals on trans health issues and break the cycle of discrimination and social stigma experienced by transgender people.

Shreya Kangovi, MD, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity Winner

Dr. Shreya Kangovi of Penn Center for Community Health Workers and IMPaCT

Winner selected by the National Civic League

As a primary care doctor and health policy researcher, Dr. Shreya Kangovi works to stem the tide of chronic disease impacting residents of West and Southwest Philadelphia. Kangovi developed IMPaCT, a standardized, scalable community health worker program that relies on trusted laypeople to help community members improve their health and well-being. IMPaCT has proven in three randomized controlled trials to improve chronic disease control, primary care access, mental health and quality of care while reducing hospital admissions in the greater Philadelphia region. The program is now the most widely disseminated community health worker program in the country.

Mary Wirshup, MD, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity Winner

Dr. Mary Wirshup of Community Volunteers of Medicine

Winner selected by the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

Many low-income residents in Chester County, Pennsylvania face complex barriers to good health. Dr. Mary Wirshup has been instrumental in helping Community Volunteers in Medicine address these barriers, especially for patients suffering from chronic disease. From championing a text message-based system to help remind patients about upcoming appointments, to implementing a glucose monitoring program to help diabetic patients see how small changes in nutrition and activity level can make impactful changes on their health, to working with specialists to help find housing for homeless patients, Wirshup’s efforts have helped bring health care, hope and healing to uninsured working adults and their families.

Edward Tepporn, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity Winner

Edward Tepporn of Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

Winner selected by the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health

Edward Tepporn focuses on the specific health equity challenges experienced by Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Tepporn developed the Health Rising Leadership Institute, a fellowship program that helps community activists tell authentic stories to challenge the “model minority” idea and other harmful stereotypes that can lead to health inequities in the Asian community. After completing the fellowship program, participants take on increased leadership roles in their organizations or become more involved in existing community partnerships―working for change that advances health equity in their communities. 

Jose Che-Che Turrubiartez, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity Winner

Jose Che-Che Turrubiartez of the LGBTQ+ and Allies Commons Space

Winner selected by Youth MOVE National

Jose Che-Che Turrubiartez is a champion for youth who has made a commitment to work for true systems change in the area of sexual and reproductive health. As a college student, Turrubiartez helped bring HIV testing on campus and offer sexual health resources that were not previously available to students. Turrubiartez was also a spokesperson for the CDC’s Spanish-speaking “Haciendolo” campaign to raise awareness for HIV testing across the nation. While once a youth advocate, Turrubiartez is now ensuring the next generation of youth leaders have their voices heard.

Maria Gomez, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity Winner

Maria Gomez of Mary’s Center

Winner selected by Hispanics in Philanthropy

Founded more than 30 years ago, Mary’s Center provides medical, social, and education services to over 50,000 individuals in the Washington, D.C area. Although a health care provider, Maria Gomez, the clinic’s founder, understands that there’s more to health than health care. Gomez’s experience immigrating from Columbia with her mother at age 13, led her to ensure that Mary's Center asks patients about their neighborhood, jobs, housing, education, and the well-being of family members so that they can address multiple social determinants of health at once. This approach has not only helped improve health outcomes for the Latino and immigrant families they serve but has drawn attention to the health care rights of vulnerable populations.

Michael Klein and Gabriel Sanders, 2019 Health Equity Winners

Michael Klein and Gabriel Sanders of Kavod Senior Life

Winners selected by LeadingAge

In the greater Denver area, Michael Klein and Gabriel Sanders are helping reduce social isolation and creating opportunities for healthy living for low-income seniors through the Kavod in Community program. Kavod is a Hebrew word meaning “honor and respect.” This respect-centered value is the compass Klein and Sanders use to bring social-emotional, educational and health information programs for seniors to local synagogues and senior sites within the Denver Housing Authority. With Kavod in Community, Klein and Sanders engineered systems change, enhancing health and quality of life for low-income seniors through effective, inclusive, equitable, and affordable programs.

Tina Fleming and Lindsey Jorstad, 2019 RWJF Award for Health Equity winners

Tina Fleming and Lindsey Jorstad of Gwinnett County Government

Winners selected by the National Recreation and Park Association

Tina Fleming and Lindsey Jorstad have been driving forces behind the Gwinnett County, Georgia’s commitment to health equity through the Live Healthy Gwinnett initiative. Rewriting the rules of who is a public health provider, Fleming and Jorstad kick-started several initiatives to make health and wellness accessible to all—from summer camp programs that promote physical activity and healthy eating to water safety programs to reduce aquatic-related emergencies and deaths. They also helped usher in large-scale system change, implementing the first set of health and wellness standards for a park and recreation agency in the state of Georgia.

Sarah Walker and Kevin Williams

Dr. Sarah Cusworth Walker of the University of Washington and Kevin Williams of Pierce County Juvenile Court

Winners selected by Community-Campus Partnerships for Health

In Pierce County, Washington, Kevin Williams and Dr. Sarah Cusworth Walker are helping transform the county’s juvenile probation practices as a way to better engage youth of color. Williams, the county’s juvenile court probation manager, and Walker, a researcher at the University of Washington, shaped and instituted Opportunity Based Probation. This approach shifts probation’s emphasis from deterring misbehavior to incentivizing positive behavior change. As youth complete predetermined objectives specified in their case plan, rewards increase. At the end of supervision, youth are connected to community partners through employment or internship opportunities. The program is not only reducing youth recidivism and probation violations but also helping improve well-being for youth and their families.



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Have a question about the RWJF Health Equity Award?

Catherine J Malone, M.B.A.

Contact the RWJF Program Officer:

Catherine J. Malone