UTHealth’s Belinda Reininger Recognized for Excellence in Public Health Practice

Article ID: 630418

Released: 27-Feb-2015 4:05 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

  • Credit: UTHealth School of Public Health

    Belinda Reininger, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.

Newswise — HOUSTON – (Feb. 27, 2015) – Belinda Reininger, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), has been honored with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Academic Public Health Practice. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) and Pfizer, Inc. made the announcement today.

“I am thankful for this award, particularly because it shines a light on the enthusiastic commitment to wellness in the City of Brownsville and the surrounding region. My incredible staff and faculty colleagues, the local dedicated leaders and the people of this region inspire me every day to search for sustainable solutions to the health issues we face,” said Reininger.

Reininger joined UTHealth School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus as a faculty member in 2001. Her research has focused on evidence-based, community approaches to improving health in minority populations. She has authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications and has been the principal investigator on multiple studies on chronic diseases.

Since joining the Brownsville campus, Reininger has made a significant impact on the community by working to reduce obesity and diabetes rates in a region where 80 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Reininger works in partnership with an active community advisory board that has supported policy and environmental changes.

By helping create and organize events such as Cyclobia and the annual city-wide weight loss challenge, Reininger has been an integral part of Brownsville’s transformation to a healthier community.

In 2008, Reininger co-led an initiative to establish the Brownsville Farmer’s Market, which now operates every Saturday and provides vouchers to low-income families to help them obtain fresh produce. The market has also established a community garden program, giving residents the opportunity to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

“Belinda is the epitome of a faculty member who translates science into practice and who dedicates herself to improving the health of an entire community,” said Susan Tortolero Emery, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at UTHealth School of Public Health. Tortolero Emery nominated Reininger for the award.

According to ASPPH, the Faculty Award for Excellence in Academic Public Health Practice was presented to Reininger for her outstanding commitment to achieving and integrating academic public health practice within research, teaching and service.

Reininger will be officially recognized during an awards ceremony at the 2015 ASPPH Annual Meeting on March 23 in Washington D.C.


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