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Rollins Alumni Association Awards

Two professionals honored for exemplary contributions
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Katie Wooten Deal 05MPH and Alawode Oladele 93MPH MD

Matthew Lee Girvin Award

Katie Wooten Deal 05MPH first became interested in suicide prevention when a college professor presented a case study that captivated her imagination. At Rollins, she strengthened that interest while working at the Carter Center Mental Health Program and focusing her thesis work on suicide prevention.

Deal is now working for the American Institutes of Research, providing technical assistance on youth violence prevention and on improving education services for children and youth who are neglected, delinquent, or at risk. She began her career at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) in Washington, DC.

Deal’s early work at SPRC involved building the capacity of grantees, coalitions, and other organizations to take a public health approach to suicide prevention. She provided technical assistance and training and developed resources designed to enhance the nation’s suicide prevention workforce.

After nearly five years, she became the deputy secretary of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance). In this role, she was charged with overseeing the operations of the alliance, the 200-member public-private partnership providing leadership to advance the national strategy for suicide prevention.  

Deal’s approach has been described as unique, and her nominators praised her for turning “research and science into effective practice at the national, state, and local levels … to significantly advance the nation’s public health approach to prevention in a burgeoning and historically treatment-oriented field.” In 2013, she was nominated as a White House Champion for Change for public health and prevention.

Deal sees her move to the American Institute for Research as pushing her work upstream. “In my current role, I address the factors that put people at risk for suicide down the road,” she says. “I’m looking at preventing violence, promoting mental health, and improving education services for children and youth who are at risk. The content area may be different, but the ultimate goal is the same.”

Distinguished Achievement Award

Alawode Oladele 93MPH MD has spent more than 20 years as a public health advocate for social justice through economic and community development, environmental justice, human rights, and social change. The medical director for the DeKalb County Board of Health’s Tuberculosis Program and the CEO and president of Premiere International Health Care Inc., Oladele has long legacy of far-reaching service.

In the DeKalb post, Oladele responded to the county’s huge refugee community by co-founding the Refugee Stress Clinic and the Center for Torture and Trauma Survivors. Called “Dr. O” by his patients, he is the creative force behind DeKalb County’s “Public Health Student Adopt a Refugee Family” program.

With Premiere International Health Care, Oladele oversees a variety of HIV and community health projects in West, East, and Central Africa. He co-founded the Global Initiative for the Advancement of Nutritional Therapy in Africa—an initiative to help eliminate hunger and malnutrition through improved nutrition, better food access, and clean water across the continent. He is an active adviser to several national and international non-profit organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for MedShare International, where he facilitated the establishment of a $1 million medical assistance program through the Federal Ministry of Health for Nigeria. He is also a sponsor and supporter of the Women of Hope Project, which provides free medical consultation and drugs for those infected with HIV/AIDS.

His contributions to both his local and international communities, including his home country of Nigeria, have been recognized on numerous occasions. Perhaps the most notable accolades were the Nigerian Consulates Appreciation Award and the Alliance of Nigerian Organizations in Georgia Image Award.

A respected researcher, physician, and published author, Oladele is a deserving recipient of the 2014 Rollins School of Public Health Distinguished Achievement Award. 

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