Actually, she received it a while back, but I missed it. Patricia has worked on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS for over twenty years and is currently the Associate Director of AIDS Alabama. The Wooster Award is named for Louise Wooster, who ran a brothel in the nascent city of Birmingham in the 1870′s and stayed behind during the 1873 cholera outbreak, after half the population had fled, to nurse the sick and dying.
Today then, Wooster’s legacy lies in doing what it takes with what you’ve got, even if the first is terrifying and the second is not much to speak of at all. It’s also a matter of seeking help and looking for answers wherever you can find them, even if it’s from outsiders. Often, it’s reaching out especially to outsiders, and not for their benefit alone. On the whole, it sounds a lot like the practice of public health.
And it sounds a lot like Patricia Todd, who has worked tirelessly for years on behalf of a marginalized population, speaking up when she didn’t have to, and putting her own life on the line to help others.
BTW, check out the website for UAB’s School of Public Health. It’s not the biggest program there, but it’s vital to all of us. (H/T Terry).