Providers Recognized For Creating Path to Health Equity Through Their Work

The Albany Med Office of Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (OHEDI) has announced the inaugural recipients of the Providers Aspire Towards Health Equity (PATH) Awards. The awards recognize Capital Region providers and educators who strive towards and are dedicate to health equity through their work and interactions with patients.

“We are pleased to highlight these individuals who have a sustained interest in health equity,” said Angela Antonikowski, PhD, MA, chief officer of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. “These awardees have made meaningful impacts, act as allies to minoritized and marginalized populations and colleagues and are a model for their respective work.”

The following recipients were recognized during a recent Albany Med leadership meeting.

Educational Advocacy Award – Sara Aoun, MS, PA-C, Assistant Professor, Physician Assistant Studies, Albany Med

The award recognizes a provider who embeds diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their curriculum and challenges students to recognize structural systems that impact patient health. In her nomination, Sara Aoun was referred to as a “positive force” for her focus on DEI matters for both students and faculty within the Albany Medical College’s Center for Physician Assistant Studies.

“Sara Aoun has been effective in bringing health equity issues into educational conversations,” said Dr. Antonikowski. “This would not have occurred without her leadership. She is someone that we are beyond proud to call colleague, mentor, and leader at Albany Med.”

Research Equity Award – Alex Pieterse, PhD

This award recognizes a provider whose long-standing research focuses on improving the quality of life among minoritized and marginalized groups within their field of expertise.

Dr. Pieterse, recently named Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Training at UAlbany, has also lectured at Albany Medical College. His teachings and research focus on topics of discrimination and its impacts on health and positive outcomes. Dr. Pieterse has also focused his work on the impact of multicultural training and ways to provide clinicians with skills that allow them to more effectively engage with a diverse population of patients and students.

Albany Med Community Engagement CARE Award – Renee Rodriguez-Goodemote MD

The award recognizes a provider who goes above and beyond in diversity, equity and inclusion and whose efforts have helped the broader community address structural systems that impact health inequities.

Dr. Rodriguez-Goodemote’s work aligns with core values of Albany Med: compassion, accountability, respect and engagement. As the chair of the Department of Ambulatory Medicine for the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, she works closely with patients and students by making high-quality primary care the priority for all community members, including those facing barriers to care.