Amber Hawkins recognized with IPHA Emerging Leader Award

Published on April 1, 2024

Amber Hawkins

MPH student Amber Hawkins was honored by members of the Iowa Public Health Association (IPHA) with the 2024 Emerging Leader Award. Hawkins received this award on March 26, 2024, in conjunction with the Public Health Conference of Iowa held in Des Moines, Iowa.

This award recognizes an individual who has exhibited public health leadership in Iowa through advocacy, community involvement, and/or program innovation as a student or early career professional.

Hawkins was nominated by Tricia Kitzmann, lecturer, and Ebonee Johnson, assistant professor, two faculty members from the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. The following is adapted from their nomination letter:

Amber has demonstrated exceptional leadership in community and behavioral health initiatives, community involvement, and program innovation as a second-year Master of Public Health student at the University of Iowa College of Public Health in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health.

She is an active member of various organizations including the Iowa Pride Alliance and UI College of Public Health Women’s Resource and Action Committee. In addition, since Summer 2023, Amber has been the Health Communications Lead for Project PEER (Prevent, Engage, Empower, Respond), a partnership between the University of Iowa and Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. In this role, she develops culturally congruent, evidence-based sexual health and substance use prevention materials which she implements and disseminates to historically Black college/university (HBCU) students with the support of Project PEER’s team of 5 undergraduate HBCU students.

In addition to her many leadership roles, Amber is a committed advocate. In 2023 she attended the United States Conference on HIV/AIDs and participated as a part of a larger pre-conference coordinated advocacy initiative to increase funding for HIV prevention services. She was able to visit the nation’s capitol and speak with community-level and national stakeholders about the need to maintain and increase HIV funding for federal initiatives.

Amber is passionate and dedicated to the public health mission and embodies all the qualities of an emerging leader in public health. Given her drive and intellectual engagement with advocacy, practice, policy formation, and community work, not only will Amber excel in graduate-level studies, but she will continue to be a driving force in the field of public health for years to come.