Four ‘Unsung Heroes’ of Health Equity Honored on World AIDS Day

Per Montgomery County: Four local individuals and organizations were presented with Solidarity for Health Equity awards at the World AIDS Day breakfast held Dec. 1. The County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) partnered with the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to sponsor the awards and reviewed nominations.
The Solidarity for Health Equity Awards were created to celebrate individuals, organizations and networks whose work seeks to alleviate racial, ethnic and other health disparities that impede progress and thwart public health efforts.

The winners were:

  • Adama Moussa Harouna. For neighborhood organizing for improved living conditions and improved health care access.
  • The County’s Babies Born Healthy program (part of DHHS). For its efforts to reduce racial disparities in infant mortality across the County.
  • Melkam Woldemanuel. For her grassroots community work to fight HIV stigma.
  • CCI Health Services. For commitment to equity and community engagement in their provision of safety net health care services.

The awards and event are part of the County’s push to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 after being named a priority jurisdiction for the Federal Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative in 2020. Dec. 1 marks two years since the public release of A Plan to End HIV in Montgomery County, which outlines strategies to reduce new HIV transmissions by 90 percent in 10 years.

To learn more about the winners and nominees, visit the Solidarity for Health Equity awards website.

2022 Solidarity for Health Equity Award nominees included:

  • Trans Maryland
  • Goshen United Methodist Church
  • Norvell Coots
  • Habibah Jackson
  • Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar
  • Mercy Health Clinic
  • 8 Changes for Racial Equity
  • Rosemary Botchway
  • The HIVE Program
  • Lakisa Blocker
  • Alexandrea McIntosh-Ogunfolu
  • Babies Born Healthy
  • Althea Oetoyo
  • Ezra Towne
  • Melkam Woldamanuel
  • American Diversity Group
  • Montgomery County Harm Reduction Team
  • Milagro Flores
  • ElevateHER
  • Thrivers on the Move
  • Tree of Hope
  • CCI Health Services
  • Adama Mousa Harouna
  • Food & Friends
  • Tree House Child Advocacy Center
  • Kathleen Crosby

In addition to the awards ceremony, the event featured an update on the County’s Plan to End HIV by 2030 and a keynote speech on health equity in Montgomery County from then Councilmember-elect Laurie-Anne Sayles. The County also offered free walk-in HIV testing onsite throughout the day, testing approximately 30 individuals.

To support Ending the HIV Epidemic efforts, Montgomery County residents are encouraged to:

  • Get tested for HIV, even if you do not think you are at risk.
  • Seek treatment for HIV if you test positive- with successful treatment, people living with HIV can live long, healthy lives and prevent transmission of HIV to others.
  • Ask your health care provider about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the HIV prevention medication, to reduce risk of HIV.
  • Learn the facts about HIV and talk with partners, family, and friends about it.
  • Fight HIV stigma by showing support and compassion for people living with HIV.

Free or low-cost HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services are available from DHHS’ HIV Services program. Call 240-777-1760 for more information.

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