Newswise — Rutgers School of Public Health dean, Perry N. Halkitis, will receive the Hyacinth Award from the Hyacinth Foundation.

The award – which honors those who have been an advocate and champion for individuals living with HIV – will be presented to Halkitis and the Sanofi PRIDE Connect Employee Resource Group at the Foundation’s 35th Anniversary Virtual Celebration on Saturday, November 14, 2020.

Halkitis, who is trailblazer in the field of HIV, was one of the first public health scientists to advance our understanding of how structural and psychosocial stressors interact with viral dynamics to perpetuate the epidemic in sexual and racial minority individuals. He has also set the groundwork for a substantive body of research on the intersection of HIV and drug use, abuse, and dependence, all the while working – for nearly two decades - as a tireless advocate and activist for those infected with and affected by HIV. His lab, the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) has served as a training ground for hundreds of students, many of whom are now well-respected scholars in the field.

“I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Dr. Halkitis,” said Kathy O’Brian, executive director, Hyacinth. “His commitment to ending this epidemic is second to none. He has dedicated his career to HIV prevention and has made a difference in reducing the spread of HIV. He has also used his voice and platform to advocate for effective public health measures that are critical to fight HIV throughout our systems of healthcare. I am proud to stand with him as a friend and an ally.”

Halkitis is actively involved in all aspects of community building and empowerment through the dissemination and translation of innovative, timely, and valuable public health research that he and his teams at the Rutgers School of Public Health and CHIBPS undertake. He is the recipient of numerous awards from both professional and community-based organizations and is an elected a fellow of The New York Academy of Medicine, The Society of Behavioral Medicine, The European Academy of Translational Medicine, and in four divisions of the American Psychological Association. Most recently, he received the Distinguished Book Award from the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity for his highly acclaimed book, Out in Time: The Public Lives of Gay Men from Stonewall to the Queer Generation.

“Dr. Halkitis has been an indomitable investigator, activist, and leader in the fight against the HIV epidemic,” said Brian Strom, chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “His expertise and dedication to public education, research, and teaching has profoundly impacted the lives of thousands and his guidance with CHIBPS has ensured the future of this work for years to come.  This honor is certainly very well deserved.”

Hyacinth will also be giving the Deloris Dockrey Community Advocate Award - named in honor of the late Rutgers School of Public Health alum – to longtime community organizer, Lourdez “Cookie” Hernandez. The award honors Dockrey’s life and her fight for women living with HIV.

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About the Rutgers School of Public Health

The Rutgers School of Public Health - New Jersey’s leading academic institution in public health - is committed to advancing health and wellbeing and preventing disease throughout New Jersey, the United States, and the world, by preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners; conducting public health research and scholarship; engaging collaboratively with communities and populations; and actively advocating for policies, programs, and services through the lens of equity and social justice. Learn how the Rutgers School of Public Health is "keeping the ‘public’ in public health,” by visiting them at https://sph.rutgers.edu.

 About the Hyacinth Foundation

Hyacinth Foundation is New Jersey’s largest and first established HIV/AIDS service provider and is seeks to help people live with HIV, stop the spread of epidemic, and serve as a critical voice in the public debate surrounding AIDS in New Jersey. With seven offices in six of the main urban hubs of NJ, Hyacinth provides HIV and STI testing, preventions education, care and treatment services, and is the only HIV service provider in the state with a public policy team. Hyacinth sees over 13,000 individuals each year. Learn more about Hyacinth here: https://www.hyacinth.org/.