Ten Carolina faculty, staff, students and organizations were recognized at the 23rd annual Public Service Awards this week for outstanding contributions to the Carolina campus and broader communities. UNC School of Medicine’s Robyn Jordan, MD, PhD, and Ron Strauss, DMD, PhD, were among the award recipients.
At this year’s Public Service Award ceremony, the Carolina Center for Public Service, along with Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Chris Clemens, presented the following awards: Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, the Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Awards, and the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Awards. The awards were held in-person this year at the Carolina Club George Watts Hill Alumni Center, the first time the events were held in this format since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Robert E. Bryan Public Service Awards, recognizing students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts, were given to two faculty, students, and an organization. Robyn Jordan, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, was recognized for her partnership in creating a network of addiction clinics in North Carolina that will accept patients suffering from addiction.
Overdose deaths in North Carolina reached record levels in 2021. Jordan is leading multiple efforts to increase access to life-saving addiction care across the state. To better meet the addiction care needs of patients, Jordan created a hospital-based addiction consult service, the first of its kind at UNC, to provide specialized service these patients and connect them with clinics outside of the hospital.
Jordan also helped develop UNC ECHO, a telehealth education program that trains primary care providers in rural parts of N.C. to deliver high-quality addiction care. She’s helped create addiction treatment where none existed before across the state. In part as recognition of her leadership, she was recently elected president of the North Carolina Addiction Medicine Society.
Jordan secured external funding to start the first-ever Addiction Medicine Fellowship program at UNC in order to train addiction medicine physicians to address the overdose crisis that is devastating the state. The program is training physicians who will continue to serve the state for decades to come.
The Ned Brooks Award for Public Service, honoring a distinguished and sustained record of service to Carolina and the larger community, was given to Ronald Strauss, DMD, PhD, executive vice provost, Adams Distinguished Professor at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry, clinical professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and professor in the UNC Department of Social Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.
Strauss has served as the executive vice provost of UNC-Chapel Hill since 2008 and as Chief International Officer
for over a decade. He holds joint appointments in three schools at Carolina and is a member of the UNC Craniofacial Center. He received the 2022 Ned Brooks Award for a distinguished and sustained record of service to Carolina and the larger community.
Strauss was instrumental to the establishment of the Thorp Community Engaged Scholars program, which has been a documented catalyst of increasing UNC faculty community engagement. As faculty course director, Strauss has consistently demonstrated personal investment in the program, the fellows and individual programs and community partnerships.
He has been a role model for hundreds of UNC faculty who consider him their lifetime mentor in community engagement and service.
Strauss has positively influenced and inspired others to passionately serve. He has achieved all this while tirelessly serving the university in major campus-level administrative roles and continuing to care for young children with craniofacial anomalies weekly in the Adams School of Dentistry Craniofacial clinic. He has also led the UNC Center for AIDS Research Community Advisory Board for decades, and his AIDS course is a testament to his commitment to the HIV community.
One nominator, who was a member of the second class of scholars stated: “Ron’s approach to teaching and connecting made a lasting impression on me as a junior faculty member striving to develop a career that had public service as a cornerstone.”
The nominator continued “as Executive Vice Provost, Ron connects all of the academic deans with the Provost’s office. He approaches this role with the same focus on compassion, mentorship, patience, and service. In both of these settings, Ron demonstrated a type of leadership that is rare. It is grounded in humility and connection. It draws on strengths of others and builds relationships. It relies on trust and openness. It is leadership that looks beyond the leader and the follower to the community that we are all trying to serve and support.”
Ron’s decades-long service at UNC he has positively influenced and inspired others to passionately serve. He has achieved all this while tirelessly serving the university in major campus-level administrative roles and continuing to care for young children with craniofacial anomalies weekly in the Adams School of Dentistry Craniofacial clinic. He has also led the UNC Center for AIDS Research Community Advisory Board for decades now, and his popular AIDS course is a testament to his commitment to the HIV community and to teaching.
Another nominator wrote, “Dr. Strauss is most deserving of this lifetime achievement award. Dr. Strauss has been a pillar at Carolina during times of tremendous transition. He is an incredible leader, mentor, servant and friend.”