SPHHS honors service and mentorship

Jeff Harness, director for integrated care and population health at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, was honored April 26 at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences’ Celebration of Service Breakfast in the Campus Center.
Harness, who received his master’s in Public Health through the school, was presented with the Distinguished Service Award honoring outstanding leadership in the field of public health.
Elizabeth Cardona, director of the governor’s western Massachusetts office, presented Harness with a citation from Gov. Deval Patrick. Cardona, who was also the keynote speaker for the breakfast, shared her personal experiences growing up and how they led her to realize the important role of service.
Other speakers, including SPHHS dean C. Marjorie Aelion, Cristina Huebner Torres of Caring Health Center in Springfield and her two interns, Sabina Dhakal and Shana Petriello, touched on the importance of professional mentors.
SPHHS also recognized more than 300 professional mentors from the past five years for their contribution to the professional training of student interns. Mentors who were among the 100 people attending the event were presented with certificates of appreciation.
“We could never adequately train our students without the time and dedication from the community partners who supervise our students as they learn how to apply their academic learning in the real world. It is an invaluable contribution to graduate and undergraduate education,” said Risa Silverman, coordinator for SPHHS’ Office for Public Health Practice and Outreach.
About 100 current students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of SPHHS attended the breakfast, which was held as part of Founders Week. The event also marked the 75th anniversary since the creation of the university’s Department of Public Health.
Photo: Jeff Harness, winner of the Distinguished Service Award, with Elizabeth Cardona and C. Marjorie Aelion, dean of SPHHS