Young Alumni Professional Award Recipient for Health Promotion Sciences
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2022
Each year, the Office of Alumni Affairs at the Hudson College of Public Health awards an annual Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Professional Achievement Award to outstanding alumni from each Department within the College. Recipients of these prestigious awards are recognized for achieving professional and personal successes, and demonstrating exemplary service to their community and/or the University.
The 2022 Young Alumni Professional Award recipient for the Department of Health Promotion Sciences is Ms. Traci Simmons, MPH, CHP, CHES, a 2016 MPH alumna.
Traci joined Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization in Chicago, IL in May 2017 as a program coordinator for health-promotion initiatives supporting food bank capacity building and implementation of nutrition education strategies for food pantries.
In her current role as the Director of Health Systems Innovation, she leads the strategic thinking and program development for food bank-healthcare partnerships and the organization’s health equity initiatives. She was instrumental in developing the organization’s first ever public health committee in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on public health, particularly emphasizing the impacts food insecurity and poverty has on individual health and wellbeing.
She also developed a multi-year health equity training curriculum for food banks to foster a culture of learning about the intersections of food insecurity, health and racial equity and to equip food banks to address the social and structural determinants of health equity.
Traci was recently admitted into the competitive Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) degree program at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health which provides comprehensive public health leadership training to advance adaptive leadership, equity and social justice and systems change.