Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Present Claudia Stravato With the
2009 Community Health Leaders Award
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced its selection of Claudia Stravato, board member and retired executive director of the Texas Panhandle Family Planning and Health Centers in Amarillo, Texas, to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. She is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who will receive the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony this evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Stravato is being honored for her work in advocating for and providing access to primary care for low-income and uninsured families and providing family planning for teens and adolescents. Believing that teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are not just a women’s problem, she founded a clinic for men and boys that has been flooded with patients since it opened one year ago.
"Claudia Stravato has been focused and determined to assure access to family planning and health care services for women and girls in the Texas Panhandle. She has been equally determined and broken new ground in establishing the clinic to extend those services for men and boys,” said Janice Ford Griffin, national program director for the award.
“When kids are having kids, there are serious consequences for society, including child abuse and a continuing cycle of poverty. I hope this award will help to shed light on this crisis and motivate the public and policy-makers to address this issue realistically,” Stravato said.
Stravato has managed to deliver needed services to Amarillo residents, even while facing extreme criticism from opponents of family planning services. “For me, Ms. Stravato stands out as a person who challenges leaders to demonstrate actual positive impact rather than just the appearance of positive impact,” said Jim Allison, president and chief executive officer of the Amarillo Area Foundation. “She has inspired me by defending and affecting radical change while standing at the center of considerable turmoil without fear or despair.”
The Community Health Leaders Award honors exceptional men and women from all over the country who overcome significant obstacles to tackle some of the most challenging health and health care problems facing their communities and the nation. The award elevates the work of the leaders by raising awareness of their extraordinary contributions through national visibility, a $125,000 award and networking opportunities. This year the Foundation received 532 nominations from across the United States and selected 10 outstanding individuals who have worked to improve health conditions in their communities with exceptional creativity, courage and commitment.
There are nine other 2009 Community Health Leaders in addition to Stravato. Their work includes oral health services for remote communities; self-directed care for persons with physical disabilities; a marriage between health care and legal aid; a mentoring program to help disadvantaged youth pursue health careers; care for victims of torture; an innovative approach to combat obesity; culturally sensitive and appropriate health care for Cambodian-American immigrants; quality health care for Native American elders; and mental health services for the underserved.
Since 1993 the program has honored more than 160 Community Health Leaders in nearly every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Nominations can be submitted for the 2010 Community Health Leaders Award through October 15, 2009. For details on how to submit a nomination, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit www.communityhealthleaders.org.
# # #
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Community Health Leaders (CHL) Award to recognize individuals who overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities. Today, there are 173 outstanding Community Health Leaders in nearly all states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.communityhealthleaders.org.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.