A UMass Dartmouth nursing professor who specializes in community mental health issues is among six winners of the University of Massachusetts 2006 President's Public Service Awards, UMass President Jack Wilson announced today.
Professor Sharon Sousa is being honored for her "significant contributions throughout her career to the SouthCoast region's ability to address the needs of people with a variety of mental disorders."
The awards are presented annually to faculty members from the university's Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester campuses who have been nominated by the Chancellors of their respective campuses for providing exemplary public service to the Commonwealth.
"The work of these faculty members epitomizes the level of excellence we strive for every day in attempting to honor our historic mission of education, research and public service, as the Commonwealth's public university," said UMass President Jack M. Wilson. "Their passion for their fields of expertise is transmitted to their students, their colleagues, their local communities, the nation and the world. We are proud to recognize them today and to claim them as members of the UMass community."
Professor Sousa participates in the SouthCoast Hospital Group which is designing educational offerings for health care providers in the community that will improve their understanding of mental illness. She is also the coordinator of wellness programs at General Fitness in Fall River and provides psychological testing to adult psychiatric patients every week at Corrigan Mental Health Center.
Together with Christine Frizzell, Director of the UMass Dartmouth Counseling Center, Professor Sousa successfully applied to establish an affiliate chapter of Compeer International, an award-winning program that matches trained, sensitive volunteers with adults, adolescents and children with mental illness in one-on-one friendship relationships. The type of public service provided by Professor Sousa generally goes unrecognized for a variety of reasons, including society's desire to keep mental illness less visible. Professor Sousa's career reflects a lifetime commitment to this important area of public service.
Since the inception of the President's Public Service Awards in 1998, a total of 53 UMass professors have received the honor.
This year's other President's Public Service Award winners are:
* Professor Nathaniel Whitaker, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, UMass Amherst: For initiating an enrichment program for African-American students in the town of Amherst in grades three to ten that enables those students to build their math skills through regular, on-campus tutoring, creating a strong link between the local community and the campus;
* Associate Professor Hannah Sevian, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, UMass Boston: For her commitment to providing science
education of the highest quality to all students, especially those in urban public school systems. She is the Principal Investigator for the Boston Science Partnership, a $12.5 million National Science Foundation-financed project designed to improve science achievement for students in grades six to twelve in the Boston Public Schools;
* Dean John Ting, College of Engineering, UMass Lowell: For his scholarly achievements and for his exemplary role as a university leader. He was the driving force behind UMass Lowell's successful effort to obtain more than $1 million in National Science Foundation funding to infuse Service Learning throughout the entire College of Engineering;
* Professor John Duffy, College of Mechanical Engineering, UMass Lowell: For being a longtime advocate of solar power and of sustainable energy systems and for coordinating the Village Empowerment Project, through which engineering students provide electricity and water purification and vaccine refrigeration systems for villagers in the Peruvian Andes;
* Assistant Professor Elaine Martin, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, UMass Medical School, Worcester: For her achievements as Librarian for the medical school's Lamar Soutter Library, including the development of the UMassHealthNet Web site that provides general healthcare information for central and western Massachusetts. She also secured a $6 million grant for the library when it was designated as the New England Regional Medical Library for 2006 through the GoLocal project of the National Library of Medicine.
The University of Massachusetts educates more than 57,000 students each year at its five campuses statewide and has more than 350,000 alumni, more than 210,000 of whom are residents of Massachusetts.