Event celebrating National Professional Social Work Month includes keynote address by Barbara Shaiman, founder and president of Champions of Caring
In honor of her tireless work advocating for the health needs of underserved populations, Luvenia Cowart, Ed.D., R.N., executive director and co-founder of the Genesis Health Project Network, will receive the 2012 Daniel and Mary Lou Rubenstein Social Justice Award at an annual ceremony March 27, 7 p.m., in Maxwell Auditorium. Sponsored by Social Workers United, the School of Social Work and the Falk College, the program is free and open to the public. The evening will feature a keynote address by Barbara Shaiman, founder and president of Champions of Caring, an after-school youth program that promotes social justice in the Philadelphia area. This annual event is one of several activities in celebration of National Professional Social Work Month commemorated each March.
A professor of practice in the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, Cowart co-founded the Genesis Health Project in 2004. It is a partnership between minority churches, community and government sponsors and Syracuse University to reduce health disparities in minority populations. Focused on black families in low-income areas of Syracuse, this community-designed, culturally sensitive initiative promotes healthy lifestyles across the lifespan among African Americans who have the highest rates of obesity in the U.S. by empowering them to improve their diets, food preparation techniques, and exercise habits.
Under Cowart’s leadership, the Genesis Project has accomplished numerous milestones, including health seminars, fitness programs, educational programs at barber shops, and healthy lifestyle activities with churches and universities. Her work and the Genesis Health Project were recognized with the prestigious National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities Director’s Award in 2008 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health. She received the 2011 Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Through Empowerment) Award for her efforts related to addressing health disparities and will receive the 2012 Post-Standard Achievement Award in May for her pioneering work with the Genesis Health Project in the Syracuse community.
For over 30 years, the Rubenstein Social Justice Award recognizes a person who reflects the values of social justice in his or her professional and personal life. The award is given in honor of the late professor Daniel Rubenstein, a former faculty member in the School of Social Work and his late wife, Mary Lou, a former school social worker.