HSPop faculty, staff, students recognized with Awards of Excellence

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The University of Washington School of Public Health (SPH) recognized dozens of students, staff, and faculty at its annual Excellence Awards celebration on May 14, 2024 in the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health. The Excellence Awards celebrates members of the SPH community for their dedication, service, and many contributions to public health. Congratulations to all our awardees!

A group of students and department leadership at the Excellence Awards ceremony
Pictured L-R: Anna Localio, Emily Williams, Miruna Buta, Megha Ramaswamy, Barbara Baquero, Anjulie Ganti, Aditi Ekbote, Mayra Muratalla Muñoz, Neil Sehgal

Anderson-O’Connell Award for Outstanding Staff Service & Outstanding Staff Award: Ria Francisco

Toni Hartsfield, Than Htwe, Ria Francisco, Jo Gallaugher, Leah Westra at the Excellence Awards ceremony

Ria Francisco is an exceptional grants administrator who goes above and beyond. With a mastery of federal budgeting critical to research faculty success, she is independent, deadline-oriented, and gets the job done. Ria’s resourcefulness shines through her research-driven approach when working with faculty. Our head of staff recognized her potential and purposefully mentored and promoted her. Now, Ria supports all faculty, and her exceptional support has garnered praise from those who’ve experienced it. In our respectful, diverse work environment, Ria exemplifies excellence and integrity, repairing relationships when needed. 

Outstanding Undergraduate Award: Aditi Ekbote (HIHIM)

John Hartgraves, Aditit Ekbote, Karima Lalani, and Jim Condon at the Excellence Awards ceremony

Aditi Ekbote is a Senior of the HIHIM program. With a background in healthcare administration and a broad skillset in information technology, cybersecurity, leadership, and data analytics, she is excited to work with healthcare organizations of all kinds in securing their protected health information and preventing data breaches. Her Capstone project involves creating a HIPAA compliance and security program at a health insurance firm using best practices in the field of Health IT. Aditi is motivated by her desire to ensure patient care is equitable, efficient, and of the highest quality. She also enjoys running, music, and reading.

Outstanding Master’s Student: Amelia Allee (MHIHIM)

Amelia Allee

Amelia Allee is committed to health information privacy, security, and intellectual curiosity. Her capstone project with the Washington Healthcare Authority, aimed at improving patient outcomes, highlights her dedication to healthcare enhancement. Now a Senior Project Manager in medical device cybersecurity with Providence, Amelia’s exemplary commitment to health literacy and access positions her as a future leader in the healthcare/public health space. 

Outstanding Master’s Student: Mayra Muratalla Muñoz (Online MPH)

Miruna Buta and Mayra Muratalla Muñoz at the Excellence Awards ceremony

Mayra Muratalla Muñoz embodies resilience and scholarly excellence. Despite facing challenges as a disabled, low-income, first-generation Latinx woman, her experience navigating healthcare systems offers invaluable insights to the field. Mayra has secured funding for important research projects while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Her commitment to public health extends beyond her academic requirements. With over 2,500 hours of community service, she actively serves marginalized populations, with a focus on survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, addressing systemic health disparities, and advocating for equitable policies. 

Outstanding PhD Student: Anna Localio (HSERV PhD)

Anna Localio and Emily Williams at the Excellence Awards ceremony

Health services PhD candidate Anna Localio‘s research has focused on evaluating the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal universal free school meals policy, and its impacts on child health outcomes. Through her research, Anna aims to inform state and federal policy decision-making, with the goal of reducing health disparities and improving population health. After graduating, she plans to use her PhD to study how nutrition assistance policies can address leading causes of chronic disease and how implementation of such policies can be improved to better serve low-income Americans. 

Read About All Award Recipients

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