The Yale-Jefferson Award is presented for outstanding work in public service in the Yale community and beyond.
Zoe Berg, Photo Editor
On October 4, the Yale Alumni Association will recognize three Yalies as Yale-Jefferson Prize recipients for their contributions to public service.
The YAA annually honors a Yale College student, professional or graduate student, and notable alumni with the Yale-Jefferson Award – an honor for outstanding work in public service in the Yale community and beyond. This year the YAA recognized Nicky Brussel Faria ’21, Paola Figueroa-Delgado ’24 PhD and Margaret Flinter ’80 MSN. The contributions of the laureates include work on housing instability, educational equity and accessibility to health care.
“The Yale-Jefferson Awards recognize individuals whose innovative, exceptional and sustained contributions to the service of the common good exemplify the leadership that Yale strives to cultivate,” wrote EJ Crawford, senior director of marketing and communications at YAA, in an email to News. “As such, we are looking for candidates who embody these values. ”
The YAA honored Brussel Faria for its dedication to supporting those facing housing instability in the Greater New Haven area. As the student leader of Y2Y New Haven – a joint initiative to end youth homelessness in New Haven – she led a community on behalf of homeless youth. According to Brussel Faria, Y2Y is unique in its specific focus on young people, as most of the existing homeless service systems are designed to meet the needs of adults.
“Y2Y is founded in recognition of the youth-specific experience of homelessness and in recognition of the disproportionate number of LGBTQ + youth who experience homelessness,” said Brussel Faria. “We want to create an affirming and safe space where young people can feel comfortable bringing every part of their identity. ”
Brussel Faria spent his time at Y2Y working on direct service and advocacy. She felt that these two branches of service worked well relative to each other.
“People who work in the policy arena need to be grounded in the direct care experience, and I liked that this opportunity brought the two together in a very unusual and special way,” she said.
Brussel Faria obtained a license in the history of science, medicine and public health in May. She will remain at the University for another year, pursuing a Masters in Health Policy at the School of Public Health.
The University honored Figueroa-Delgado for its groundbreaking work on equity, diversity and inclusion in education. In presenting the award, the YAA highlighted her position as Chair of Outreach for the Yale Collective for Diversity and Inclusion in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, where she introduced two mentorship programs – the YBDIC Mentorship Program and a Program for advance training in health and collaborative sciences. program – and an ongoing lecture series, “The Biological and Biomedical Sciences Online Lecture Series”.
The PATHS Collaborative Mentoring Program pairs community college undergraduates and postgraduates with Yale mentors from historically excluded communities. The YBDIC mentoring program also provides community college students with Yale mentors, specifically to provide them with support during times of transition.
“It’s a common thread that individuals historically excluded from science feel isolated because they can’t identify a community,” Figueroa-Delgado said. “We wanted to make sure they had someone with their best interests at heart in this process.”
According to Figueroa-Delgado, the focus on the individual is at the heart of his work. She regularly meets with community college administrators to discuss how best to meet the changing needs of their students, whether through a conference, fireside chat, or educational programs.
Figueroa is also hosting an ongoing lecture series, “The Biological and Biomedical Sciences Online Lecture Series”. It presents university professors and post-docs with non-traditional professional backgrounds who share their scientific experiences.
Finally, the YAA honored Flinter for his diligent work in providing health services to underprivileged communities. As Senior Vice President and Clinical Director of Community Health Center, Inc. and Founder of the Weitzman Institute, Flinter said she works under the slogan “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.”
Flinter was a National Health Service Corp Fellow and new family nurse practitioner at the CHCI Middletown Clinic, where she works with activists and clinicians to help patients across Connecticut. Recently, the clinic has maintained its role of community support by providing COVID-19 mass testing and vaccination operations, as well as organizing vaccination campaigns throughout the state.
As an extension of CHCI, Flinter founded the Weitzman Institute, which serves as a research, innovation and training hub for CHCI. The institute works to address health inequities statewide and is considering different methods to provide equal access to health care for all.
Flinter reflected in a YAA press release that “In the years since leaving Yale, I fully understood what it means to be a Yale nurse. Partnerships, support and inspiration keep coming.
In 2007, Flinter launched the country’s first organized postgraduate residency and scholarship program for emerging nurse practitioners. She pointed to her time at Yale as an inspiration to do so, telling the YAA that just as Yale instilled in her the desire to succeed, she does the same in shaping America’s future healthcare providers.
The YAA will host a virtual awards ceremony and fireside chat in honor of the recipients on October 4 as part of Service Celebration Week October 4-11.