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.”

2012 Recipient

Otis R. Bowen, MD

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

curranJames 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

koopDr. 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

waibelJill 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

awardThe 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.

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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