July 17, 2006

CONTACT: Susanne Hartman
(215) 349-5964

Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, of the University of Pennsylvania, Wins
2006 H.O.P.E. Award From the American Journal of Health Promotion
Penn Researcher Strives to Reduce Health Disparities Among the Disadvantaged

(Philadelphia, PA) - Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has won the 2006 Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. Award from the American Journal of Health Promotion. It is presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to serving the health promotion needs of underserved populations or to promoting cultural diversity in health promotion.

“It is an honor to receive this prestigious national distinction. Throughout my career, I have advocated for health promotion research and practices that are respectful of and responsive to cultural and ecological influences on lifestyles and health status,” said Kumanyika. “I push for the use of cultural knowledge to develop and implement initiatives to reduce health disparities affecting ethnic minority and socially disadvantaged communities.”

She has devoted particular energy to engendering strategies for effective environmental and behavioral change to reduce obesity and related disorders in the African American population. Her efforts have also led her on a successful path of mentoring the next generation of investigators and advocates for meeting the needs of underserved populations in the United States with respect to diet and health.

Kumanyika is also currently Associate Dean for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; Founding Director of the Graduate Program in Public Health Studies; Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology and in Pediatrics (Nutrition); and Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, all at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She is also a Senior Fellow in Penn’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Institute on Aging.

Kumanyika has a unique interdisciplinary background that integrates epidemiology, nutrition, prevention, minority health, aging, and women's health issues. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she holds a B.A. from Syracuse University, Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from Cornell University, and Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

Kumanyika received the 2006 H.O.P.E. Award at the National Wellness (Institute) Conference today (July 17) in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. For more information on the award and the past winners, visit: http://ajhp.com/resource/hope.htm. It is named in honor of one of the founding editors of AJHP, who devoted his life to helping people empower themselves through harnessing cultural norms.

The winner of the Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People through Empowerment) Award, presented annually by the American Journal of Health Promotion, receives $3,500. The cash award is made possible through grants provided by the California Wellness Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and individual donors.


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of theUniversity of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

This release is available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/jul06/kumanyikaHOPE.htm