When Ramos, program coordinator at the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and July's Gold U Award winner, talks about her work, she talks about her team and her community.
She discusses the center and her community projects -- tobacco-control initiatives ("We're doing a lot of education about why its tobacco-free policies are important"); underage drinking ("We'll be rolling out training and a youth intervention"), a migrant farm worker health study ("one of the most rewarding projects we've worked on") -- without using the word "I."
"The idea of social justice was something my family taught me. It isn't about getting your name out there or the recognition, it's about doing something that's going to be meaningful and relevant for others." Athena Ramos
Not surprisingly, Ramos sees her award as something of a group accomplishment.
"It's recognition not just for me but also for others on the team," she said. "A lot of times you're so busy and worn out. Change doesn't come as fast as you'd like. But I think this reinvigorates and inspires us to keep trying to do good things, keep trying to do the work we're doing."
But Ramos' leadership also is invigorating, said team member Antonia Correa in a nomination letter.
"She tries to ensure that everyone has a voice, can be part of the discussion," Correa said.
To force Ramos to discuss herself, try asking about her family, especially her father, whom she credits with instilling in her a sense of mission and a drive for social justice.
"The idea of social justice was something my family taught me," she said. "It isn't about getting your name out there or the recognition, it's about doing something that's going to be meaningful and relevant for others."
And Ramos brings proven effectiveness to her idealism.
"What I find remarkable about Athena is her extraordinary capability in securing external grants and managing sponsored projects," said Dejun Su, Ph.D., director of the center, in his nomination letter. "Her solid records in grant application and management could well rival some of our faculty members in the college."
Ramos is clearly proud to be a part of the center and the College of Public Health.
"The idea of social justice and being mission-driven is a strong force within the center and the college, because that really is the base of what public health is," she said. "It's about creating health equality -- achieving a level of health equity where all people and all communities have the right and ability to reach their maximum potential."
"Without that foundation, what is public health?"
Congratulations A. Ramos!!! You deserve it.
Congratulations! Can't wait to see what you'll accomplish next!
Congratulations Athena, you deserve the Gold U! You have such great energy! Keep up the great work!
Way to go Athena! You make us all proud! I can sense your excitement and dedication. Gabriella Castro