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Dr. Cecilia Rosales Named Extraordinary Faculty Member

  • October 12, 2021

The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health’s Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS, will be given one of two 2021 Extraordinary Faculty Awards this year by the UArizona Alumni Association in recognition of her exceptional service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona.

Dr. Rosales is the college’s associate dean of community engagement and outreach, associate dean for its Phoenix Campus, and professor and chair of the college’s Division of Public Health Practice and Translational Research.

Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS“Dr. Rosales is very successful at bringing people together, building consensus, and creating a shared vision and understanding,” said Iman Hakim, MD, PhD, MPH, dean and professor of the Zuckerman College of Public Health in her nomination letter. “Her service to the college, university and community has been remarkable,” Dr. Hakim added.

Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Rosales has shown outstanding leadership, using existing networks to reach underserved and Spanish-language communities with vital services, information and vaccines. This includes her direction of UArizona Health Sciences Mobile Health Units in Phoenix and Tucson, and her implementation of the MOVE-UP (Mobile Outreach Vaccination and Education for Underserved Populations) program in collaboration with the UArizona Center for Rural Health. That effort has led to thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being administered to people in Maricopa County, and in rural counties around the state and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Dr. Rosales also is being honored for her support in creating the Remote Integrated Tutoring Education (RITE) program, prompted when mobile health unit staff were told of challenges elementary school kids were facing during the pandemic with online learning due to lack of computer skills. RITE was launched in fall 2020 as an internship project of public health and nursing students. Organized through the mobile health unit teams in Tucson and Phoenix, and Area Health Education Centers in central and southern Arizona, the program engages and connects high school and undergraduate students with middle and elementary school students for tutoring.

“I would not have received this recognition if not for the dedication, commitment and passion of our team in serving rural, border and hard-to-reach populations. I am very honored and humbled and will accept this recognition on behalf of the many that make it possible to reach and meet people where they are,” Dr. Rosales said.

“This has allowed us to provide not just the COVID-19 vaccine, but many other services that people have put off as a consequence of this pandemic, such as delaying their chronic disease self-management, general health screenings, and other adult and childhood vaccinations,” she added.

“It takes a village – a team of individuals committed to minimizing morbidity and preventing hospitalization and mortality from the COVID-19 variants.”

That team, Dr. Rosales said, includes the many MOVE UP staff, students and volunteers, as well as UArizona Health Sciences leadership – in particular Senior Vice President Michael D. Dake, MD, and Associate Vice President Daniel Derksen, MD – who afforded the resources to bring together this team to cover far flung counties with rural and border areas that make it difficult to reach people.

Dr. Rosales received her bachelor’s degree in public administration and master’s degree in epidemiology from UArizona and her medical degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. She was recruited to the college 16 years ago, having served as a presidential appointment to the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission.

The Extraordinary Faculty Award is given to a faculty member who brings honor or distinction to UArizona. It will be presented at the Zuckerman College of Public Health’s homecoming celebration Nov. 4 to honor public health alumni and community leaders.

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