Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award

rwhiteThis award was created in 2009 by RCAP to honor Ryan White and persons who have made significant, national and/or international achievements in HIV/AIDS prevention. Ryan White, a rural, Indiana youth, contracted HIV in 1984 and became a national poster boy on AIDS until his death in 1990, a few months prior to his intended enrollment at Indiana University, Bloomington. The award plaque given to each recipient reads “in appreciation for your outstanding contributions to HIV/AIDS prevention and for being an exemplary bearer of the standard of excellence and commitment needed to combat HIV/AIDS.”

2016 Recipient

Greg Louganis

Greg Louganis

Greg Louganis

Greg Louganis received the eighth Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award at the inaugural Ryan White and William L. Yarber Lecture on March 1, 2016, sponsored by the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention (RCAP) and the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington and conducted on the IU campus. The award was presented by Dr. William L. Yarber, RCAP senior director, and Jeanne White Ginder, Ryan’s mother. Greg’s presentation was Overcoming Adversity From an HIV Positive Legend, the inaugural Ryan White and William L. Yarber Lecture Series address.
Ryan White Leadership AwardGreg is considered by many as the greatest diver ever. He is the only male to sweep both the 3m and 10m diving events in consecutive Olympic Games (’84 and ’88). He earned a total of five Olympic medals, five World Championships titles, and 47 national titles (more than anyone is US history). Knowing and remembering Greg only for his unsurpassed athletic greatness leaves out his touching and powerful personal story that is an inspiration to all. He has experienced truly harrowing social, emotional, and family circumstances that nearly destroyed him. Despite all that he faced, he found the inner strength to save himself.

2015 Recipient

Joep Lange, MD, Phd

Joep LangeThe Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention presented the 2015 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award posthumously to Joep Lange, MD, PhD, on October 14, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dr. Lange was professor of medicine and head of the Department of Global Health at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and was a passenger on the Malaysian Airlines Flight ML 17 that tragically crash in eastern Ukraine, July 17, 2014. “Dr. Lange was a world-renowned leader in HIV/AIDS prevention and the architect of several pivotal trails on antiretroviral therapy and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in both the developed and developing countries. The world lost a pioneer and ‘giant’ in global efforts to combat AIDS; certainly he is a worthy recipient of the prestigious Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award,” said Dr. William L. Yarber, RCAP senior director. awardDr. Lange published more than 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals and guided more than 30 doctoral students. Not only was he a superb scientist and clinician, he advocated for affordable AIDS medication to African countries. Dr. Yarber and Jeanne White Ginder, Ryan’s mother, presented the award to Dr. Lange’s son, Max, at an internationally-attended academic forum on HIV/AIDS conducted in honor of Dr. Lange as shown in the photo (© Rebke Klokke). Also shown is a photo of Dr. Lange.

2014 Recipient

David Satcher, MD, PhD

David SatcherDavid Satcher, MD, PhD, received the 2014 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award at the RCAP 20th Anniversary Celebration event in April 2014. Dr. Satcher became the 16th Surgeon General of the United States in 1998 and served a four-year term. In 2001, Dr. Satcher released the report, The Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. The report was widely praised by sexual health professionals throughout the country. Prior to becoming Surgeon General, Dr. Satcher served as Director of the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and president of Meharry Medical College. Dr. Satcher currently serves as Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Poussaint-Satcher-Cosby Chair in Mental Health at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Dr. Satcher is highly praised as the Surgeon General who listened to American people and who was dedicated to making public health work for all groups in the United States.

2012 Recipient

Otis R. Bowen, MD

Otis Bowen Otis R. Bowen, MD, received the 2012 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award from RCAP. The award recognizes Dr. Bowen’s contributions to efforts in the 1980s to raise public awareness of AIDS at a time when little was known about disease. Bowen, former governor of Indiana, was secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the early part of the epidemic and was instrumental in supporting then U. S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop in his successful effort to send an informational AIDS pamphlet to every home in America. Koop received the 2010 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award. Otis 94, received the award March 13 at his residence near Bremen, Ind., where he retired after an active career in medical practice, politics and academic, where he was professor of family medicine at his alma mater, Indiana University.

2011 Recipient

James W. Curran, MD, MPH

James W. Curran James W. Curran, MD, MPH, received the 2011 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award from RCAP at RCAP national conference, April 2011.  Dr. Curran is Dean and Professor of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, since 1995.  In 2009, the Deanship of the School was endowed in his honor and he holds the position as the first James W. Curran Dean of Public Health.  Since 1997, he has also served as Principal Investigator and Co-Director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research, funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Curran has been author of more than 260 scientific publications. He is immediate past Chair of the Office of AIDS Research Council of the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Curran came to Emory from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he served for over two decades.  From 1981 to 1995 he was a leader of CDC’s HIV research and prevention efforts.

2010 Recipients

C. Everett Koop, MD, ScD

CEverettKoop Dr. C. Everett Koop received the 2010 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award from RCAP on March 17,2010. Jeanne White Ginder, whole son Ryan’s battle with HIV made him a national hero in the fight against AIDS, and RCAP senior director, Bill Yarber, presented the award to Koop at the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H. While serving as US Surgeon General in the 1980s. Koop was the first federal authority to provide clear and explicit information about HIV transmission and prevention. He mailed a pamphlet, “Understanding AIDS,” every household in America, including the rural communities served by RCAP. Click here to see the new release from Indiana University about the award presentation.

Click here for a video of the presentation of the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award and an interview of Dr. Koop.

Photo by Jon Gilbert Fox

Jill S. Waibel, MD

Jill S. Waibel Jill S. Waibel, MD, received the 2010 Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award from RCAP at the remembrance event of the 20th anniversary of death of Ryan White at Indiana University, April 2010 (see News item below).  Dr. Waibel was a teenage friend of Ryan White who helped him gain acceptance in the Hamilton Heights School District in Cicero, Indiana. She founded the Indiana University Dance Marathon in 1991, now an annual event that raises money for the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The Indiana University Dance Marathon is the second largest campus dance marathon in the country and has raised over $8.5 million. Dr. Waibel is a dermatologist in Miami, FL. Click here to learn more about Dr. Waibel and the event in which the award was presented.

2009 Recipient

Jeanne White Ginder

Jeanna White GinderThe first recipient of this award was Jeanne White Ginder, Ryan White’s mother. Jeanne became an advocate for HIV/AIDS education and an activist for the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS after her son was banned from school. Jeanne continues to make presentations in the United States and worldwide on issues dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention. Ryan had an enormous presence, and that presence continues through his mother. During Ryan’s ordeal and his fight to stay alive and to educate others, his mother stood by him. Jeanne White Ginder is a most deserving first recipient of the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award.

The award was presented to Jeanne at the RCAP 2009 national conference by Dr. Robert M. Goodman (at left) Dean of the School of Public Health at Indiana University and Dr. William L. Yarber, RCAP Senior Director.


RCAP Honor Award

This award was created in 2009 to recognize persons who have made special contributions in the field of AIDS/STD prevention.

2015 Recipients

At the RCAP World AIDS Day event, December 1, 2015, the RCAP Honor Award was presented to each participant of a panel discussion of the HIV outbreak in rural, Scott County, Indiana, in 2015. Panel members not only were recognized but also served as representative of numerous others from many organizations that responded to the HIV outbreak.

The panel members were (above, left to right): Dr. Beth Meyerson, Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention; Dr. Paul J. Weidle, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ; Emily Brinegar and Amy Hayes, Positive Link, Bloomington; Brittany Combs, Scott Country Health Department; and Dr. Jennifer Walthal, Indiana State Department of Health. The panel was moderated by Dr. William Yarber, RCAP (far right).

2014 Recipients

Susan L. Dreisbach, PhD

SusanDreisbach Susan L. Dreisbach, PhD is Assistant Research Professor at University of Colorado Denver in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences. She conducts qualitative and quantitative research focusing on adolescent health, HIV/STD prevention, and program evaluation. She became engaged in rural HIV and STD prevention during a research project exploring the association between rural methamphetamine use and the risk of HIV and hepatitis C transmission. As a co-director for the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, she edited, Tearing Down Fences, HIV/STD Prevention in Rural Areas, a handbook that compiled promising solutions to meet the special challenges of prevention in rural areas. Currently, Dr. Dreisbach is retired from teaching and serves as an evaluator for Colorado’s rural HIV/STD prevention programs.

Doris and Bob Fox

DorisBobFox Doris and Bob Fox’s son, Tom, an Indiana University graduate, died of complications of AIDS in July 1989 at the age of 33. During the final months of his life Tom dedicated himself to educating people at AIDS and homosexuality. His battle with AIDS was chronicled in a courageous series, “When AIDS Comes Home,” in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. After Tom’s death, Doris and Bob dedicated themselves to continuing the work their son would want them to do. They became active members of Bloomington and Indiana AIDS and Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual support communities. They helped organize the first Family AIDS Support group in Bloomington in 1987 and were active in numerous World AIDS Day activities and the Community AIDS Action Group. In 1992, Doris became the founding president and enduring spirit of Bloomington’s PFLAG chapter—Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Doris and Bob have received numerous awards, such as Indiana Cares Super Star Award for HIV and AIDS Education; Hoosier Health and Human Services Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership to the Lesbian, Gay and AIDS Community; and The Celia Bush Making a Difference to the HIV /AIDS Community. Their passion, commitment, vision and leadership made our world a better to place to live for those with HIV/AIDS and gay, lesbian and bisexual persons.

Doug Wasitis

DougWasitis Doug Wasitis has overseen federal matters for Indiana University since 2005 and currently serves as the University’s Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations. In this role, Mr. Wasitis assists all Indiana University schools and departments with legislative, programmatic and regulatory issues before the federal government. Prior to opening the IU Washington Office, Mr. Wasitis was a Senior Vice President at B&D Sagamore, a Washington DC lobbying firm, where he led the education practice. In his time at B&D Sagamore, he represented more than a dozen colleges and universities nationwide and helped the firm’s clients develop and implement a federal affairs agenda to meet their unique needs. From 1990 to 1997, Mr. Wasitis worked on Capitol Hill as staff to the House Appropriations Committee at the direction of former Rep. John T. Myers (R-IN), Chairman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. As senior staff to the Chairman, he was responsible for assisting Chairman Myers in overseeing and coordinating numerous Indiana-related federal appropriations requests from universities, municipalities and state government. Doug was instrumental in securing federal funding for the creation of RCAP and its operations for many years.

2009 Recipient

Bob Kohmescher

bkohmescherRCAP presented the RCAP Honor Award to Bob Kohmescher, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, on April 18, 2009 in recognition of his long-time, outstanding contributions to HIV/STD prevention and his valuable support of RCAP. Bob was the RCAP CDC project officer for several years until 2008. Since 1974, Bob has been a CDC public health advisor in AIDS/STD prevention, working in numerous locations such as St. Louis, MO; the Mississippi Gulf area; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; New Orleans, LA; Raleigh, NC; and Atlanta, GA. Bob has shown outstanding leadership and commitment to community planning and has made numerous significant contributions to furthering HIV/STD prevention. For example, Bob was the CDC liaison in working with RCAP senior director, William L. Yarber, in the writing and publishing of the country’s first school AIDS curriculum in 1987,  AIDS: What Young Adults Should Know (American Alliance for Health Education, 1987). Bob provided vision for numerous RCAP projects, including the first guidelines for HIV/STD prevention in rural communities, Tearing Down Fences: HIV/STD Prevention in Rural America (RCAP, 2010). Bob is currently serving as special assistant to the Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC in Atlanta and is still closely involved with HIV Prevention Community Planning.

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