Ruth C. Bailey Award Winner Inspired by Community Involvement

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Winning the 2022 Ruth C. Bailey Award for Multicultural Engagement left Darryl B. Hood, professor of environmental science at The Ohio State University College of Public Health, dumbfounded.

“What was my reaction after passing out, you mean?” was Hood’s response to a question about his reaction to the award.

“I was humble, very humble. And then after the humility, it took a bit of introspection and reflection on my career,” he said. “And in that moment, I was almost in tears.”

The Ruth C. Bailey Award was established in 2012 by alumnus Vincenzo Ferranti to honor Bailey, his advisor and mentor and member of the university’s international student services staff from 1937 to 1974. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to multicultural interaction and understanding on campus.

“Dr. Hood has woven his passion for improving diversity and inclusive excellence through all facets of his career, bringing to light many important topics and issues through research, teaching, and service,” said Amy Fairchild.Dean, College of Public Health. “To work with Dr. Hood is to know an active recruiter for minority students and an advocate not only for faculty and students of color in the college, but for the entire university. Within the college, he regularly offers advice and support to young teachers. This form of engaged mentoring is essential in the lives of those developing their careers and, most importantly, it uplifts us all. »

Hood’s academic research focuses on the area of ​​environmental public health. All his funds currently projects use the Public Health Exposome framework and Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) analysis which seeks to understand disparate health outcomes in the context of historical structural inequalities seen through an environmental lens.

An example of this, Hood said, is the Federal Interstate Highway System.

“Transportation is good, but there are unintended consequences. The road network passed through many neighborhoods – most of them were minority neighborhoods,” he said. “Thus, the Public Health Exposome framework allows us to examine the impact of traffic-related and environmental pollution on the residents of these communities.”

Hood said it came from this passion to honestly understand inequality. Her parents were actively involved in the civil rights movement. Hood himself was a plaintiff in Swan v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education argued before the Supreme Court on October 12, 1970 as one of the test cases resulting from Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. His family’s focus on justice and equality led him to his work today.

In addition to the community nature of his work, Hood has been honored for his collegiality within the university. That collaborative spirit is what brought him to Ohio State, he said.

“The generation of scientists who mentored me represented the highest level of commitment to the academy. You have to be collegiate in the academy,” he said. “Discovery itself is the result of collegiality. This is one of the reasons I came to Ohio State – every resource imaginable is in this institution and in Columbus.

Hood attributes this emphasis on collaboration to the leadership of the university. He recalls an instance where former President Michael V. Drake reminded scholars that Ohio State is an urban land-grant institution and it is the university’s responsibility to serve his community.

More recently, Hood said he finds President Kristina M. Johnson and Provost Melissa L. Gilliam’s continuation of this push for awareness and commitment inspiring.

“There’s a wave of enthusiasm for collaborative interactions and discovery,” he said. “Under President Johnson and Provost Gilliam, I think we’re going to be seen as the model going forward for our community-based participatory research programs.”

Hood remains excited about the possibilities unfolding in his work within the university and beyond.

“These are good days for Ohio State.”

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