Belinda Reininger, an associate professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), was awarded the Faculty Award for Excellence in Academic Public Health Practice. The award was granted to Reininger for her expertise in public health by The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) together with Pfizer, Inc.
Reininger was selected to receive the award due to her commitment to academic public health practices, achievements and integration, not only through her duties as a teacher, but also as researcher and as a part of other activities, according to the ASPPH. The award will be officially granted during the 2015 ASPPH Annual Meeting, which will take place on March 23 in Washington D.C., as announced in a press release.
“Belinda is the epitome of a faculty member who translates science into practice and who dedicates herself to improving the health of an entire community,” said the director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at UTHealth School of Public Health, Susan Tortolero Emery, PhD, who nominated Reininger to receive the award.
In 2001 Reininger became a member of the UTHealth School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus and has been working on research focused on new approaches based on evidences and the community itself to improve the health of the minorities. Reininger is the principal investigator on numerous studies concerning chronic diseases and is also the author of dozens of peer-reviewed publications.
“I am thankful for this award, particularly because it shines a light on the enthusiastic commitment to wellness in the City of Brownsville and the surrounding region,” said Dr. Reininger in a press release. “My incredible staff and faculty colleagues, the local dedicated leaders and the people of this region inspire me every day to search for sustainable solutions to the health issues we face.”
Among Reininger’s achievements at UTHealth and within the Texas community is her work dedicated to obesity and diabetes, as 80% of all adults are either overweight or obese. Reininger has been working to reduce the rate of the disease in the region in collaboration with a community advisory board, which supports both political and environmental alterations.
Reininger is also responsible for several events, including the Cyclobia and the annual city-wide weight loss challenge, and she has co-led efforts to create the Brownsville Farmer’s Market in 2008, a market that is held every Saturday to provide low-income families with fresh products, including a community garden program so that anyone can have their own fruits and vegetables.