Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year and Vice Chancellor Health Sciences Award (2006 – 2023)

Blanca Meléndrez (2006), Kate McDevitt (2013), Kelley (Thompson) Axelson (2014), Elle Mari (2017), Joe Prickitt (2019), Amina Sheik Mohamed (2023)

Honors professional and support staff that have demonstrated exemplary performance of activities that are above and beyond the scope of assigned responsibilities and have made other noteworthy contributions to the UC San Diego and/or San Diego communities.

Fannie Lou Hamer Food Equity Award (2022)

Elle Mari

Project New Village recognizes the work of local leaders and contributors who are changing the food landscape in Southeastern San Diego. The award pays tribute to the legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer and her early fight for food equity and social justice in the 1960s and 70s.

Imperial Beach Mayoral Community Award (2022)

Urban Food Equity, Lakisha McZeal

The City of Imperial Beach honors individuals and groups working to improve health and opportunity in Imperial Beach. Lakisha and the Urban Food Equity team were honored for their Food Pantry and Garden Refresh project at Imperial Beach Neighborhood Center.

Northgate JUNTOS Award (2020)

Blanca Melendrez

Honors community leaders and heroes who are on the front lines making a significant contribution for a better society. Recipients are awarded $2,000 to give to a local non-profit organization of the honorees’ choice.

Malala Yousafzai Youth Leadership Award (2019)

Huda Ahmed

Honors one youth leader 18 or younger who is inspiring change in their community. Huda is a member of the UC San Diego Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and has conducted a farmers’ market youth research project, advocated for affordable housing, and been involved in efforts to promote food security and education, among other community efforts.

YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Humanitarian Award (2019)

Blanca Meléndrez

Recognizes women in a managerial, executive, or leadership role for their extraordinary achievements in making a difference in the workplace and in their community.

Rising Star Award (2019)

Shana Wright Bruno

Recognizes individuals working to support breastfeeding in their community.

King Chavez Arts and Athletics Academy Friends of Love Award (2018)

Barbara Hughes

Honors organizations/individuals promoting leadership and a culture of nutrition and healthy behaviors through policy, systems, and environmental changes in the low-income school environment.

San Diego Chapter of the American Planning Association Award (2018)

Urban Food Equity (Elle Mari and Kate Mahoney)

Honors professionals, community members, and leaders in urban planning.  The Urban Food Environments program was awarded in the economic development planning category for the African Caribbean Market Makeover Project.

Circulate San Diego Momentum Award (2017)

Kate Mahoney

Recognizes the people and projects in the San Diego region that are improving quality of life by advancing forward-thinking multi-modal transportation choices, better connectivity, and vibrant, healthy communities. Kate was awarded in the “healthy community” category for her work on the Market St./Denby Crosswalk Project in Mount Hope.

San Diego California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAPHERD) Unit 47-412 Outstanding Community Partner Award (2015)

Kate McDevitt

Honors community partners who display a constant commitment to improving the health of children in San Diego County.

Goodwill Industries of San Diego County Board of Directors – Good Neighbor Award (2015)

Live Well @ Work

Honors an extraordinary business or service that has demonstrated a commitment to Goodwill Industries’ organization.

San Diego Business Journal – Women Who Mean Business Award (2009 – 2015)

Blanca Meléndrez (2009), Michelle Zive (2011), Karemi Alvarez (2015)

Recognizes dynamic women business leaders who have contributed significantly to San Diego’s businesses.

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Community Leadership Award (2014)

Kelley (Thompson) Axelson

Recognizes individuals or organizations that provide or enhance opportunities to engage in sports, physical activity, fitness, or nutrition-related programs within a community.

2014 Emerging Generation: 25 in their 20’s (2014)

Shana Wright Bruno

San Diego Business Journal award to honor young leaders.

San Diego Magazine Woman of the Year Finalist (2014)

Kate McDevitt was a finalist for the Woman of the Year Award, which honors dynamic local women who work tirelessly to affect positive change and enhance the community.

KPBS and Union Bank Local Hero Award (2013)

Amina Sheik Mohamed

Recognizes heroes for their exceptional commitment and contribution to San Diego’s Latino community through art, business, community activism, education, and social services.

California Center for Public Health Advocacy Emerging Health Leaders Award (2013)

Youth Engagement Program

Recognizes Sweetwater High School students for their leadership in improvind student health by providing access to free, clean sources of tap water for low-resource youth who attend the school. Sweetwater High School is in National City, San Diego County’s city with the highest childhood obesity rates. This Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project was led by UCSD’s San Diego Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative.

Produce Business Marketing Excellence Award (2012, 2013)

Retail Program

Recognizes excellence in marketing in each of six categories: retailers, restaurants, wholesalers, shippers, commodity organizations, and allied service/product providers.

National Association of Counties Achievement Award (2012)

Media Campaign

Recognizes innovative county government programs.

San Diego County Health and Human Service Agency’s Public Health Champion (2012)

Center for Community Health

Honors those who are champions in the HHSA’s efforts in providing a broad range of health and social services, promoting wellness, self-sufficiency, and a better quality of life for all individuals and families in San Diego County.

American Cancer Society’s Estrella de Esperanza (Star of Hope) Award (2011)

Worksite Wellness Program

Honors those who play an integral part in the ACS’s mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and service.

California Wellness Foundation’s Champions of Health Diversity Award (2009)

Sandra Daley, MD, Principal Investigator and Center Director

Acknowledges professionals for their commitment to increasing California’s health care workforce and its diversity.

Spirit of Preuss Community Award (2009)

Sandra Daley, MD, Principal Investigator and Center Director

Acknowledges professionals with strong character values for their dedication to the mission.

UC San Diego Diversity Awards (2004 – 2018)

2018: Kate Edra, MPH, CHES, School Wellness and the Southern California Nutrition Incentive Program, also know as ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh.

2017: Ramón Hernandez, DrPH, Associate Director for the Center for Community Health at UC San Diego

2013: Lakeysha Sowunmi, African American Program Manager, Network for a Healthy California

2012: Amina Sheik-Mohamed, African American Program Coordinator, Network for a Healthy California

2011: Michael Gieck, MS, Children’s Power Play Campaign Coordinator, Network for a Healthy California

2010: Gloria Sotelo, MD, Health Educator and Tool Box Kit Coordinator, Network for a Healthy California


Ashley Maier, MSW, Program Coordinator, Pediatricians and Communities Collaborating Together

Maria Casillas-Sanchez, BSW, Program Coordinator, Child Ready-School Ready


Dr. Patricia East, Ph.D, PI, Families in Transition (FIT)

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, MD, M.Ed., PI, School Ready- Child Ready

The Division of Child Development and Community Health (aka Community Pediatrics)

Anita Williams, MS, Director, Research Methodology Teaching Laboratory


Dr. Shelia Broyles, Ph.D, Administrative Core Director: Comprehensive Research Center in Health Disparities, PI: The Study of Children’s Activity and Nutrition


Dr. Maria Luisa Zuniga, Ph.D, PI, Southern California Border HIV/AIDS Project and Project SPLASH

Julius Phillips, Outreach Worker, Comprehensive Research Center in Health Disparities

Blanca Meléndrez, MA, Project Director, Network for a Healthy California

2004: Johanna Maralet, Program Coordinator/Community Health Program Rep., Sr., Pediatrician Education Project and San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network

Honors staff, faculty, students, departments, and organizational units or groups that make outstanding contributions in the areas of equal opportunity, affirmative action, diversity, and the UCSD Principles of Community during the year.


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