Dr. Kafui Dzirasa and members of the Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19 (LATIN-19) team are among the recipients of Duke University’s 2020 Presidential Awards. These awards recognize individuals and teams from the University and Health System who best demonstrate the values that define Duke as an institution.
Dr. Dzirasa recently joined the Duke CTSI team as Co-Director of the Workforce Development Core. He also serves as the Ranga Rama Krishnan Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Neurobiology and Neurosurgery.
Dr. Dzirasa’s was recognized for his research, which uses neuroscience, bioengineering, and computational approaches to examine the roots of mental illness. “Dr. Dzirasa is a truly unique member of our community: a trailblazer, an innovator, a caring colleague, an activist, and an inspirational leader across many dimensions,” wrote Moira Rynn, MD, chair of Duke’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences.
The LATIN-19 team, which includes Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI) Faculty Co-Leads Dr. Leonor Corsino and Dr. Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, has been working to identify and remedy pandemic-related disparities facing the Latinx population. Since its inception, the group has helped improve access to testing, contact tracing, and care for the local Latinx community; increased the amount of Spanish-language COVID-19 information available; and guided state and local policy changes.
“Every aspect of this group has been extraordinary,” said Duke University School of Medicine Dean Mary Klotman. “They have taken their commitment to our community and turned it into action, filling huge gaps in providing support, advocacy, information and care for our Latinx community in North Carolina.”