Ricardo Correa, MD, program director for the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, received the Herbert W. Nickens Minority Health and Representation in Medicine Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM). The award recognizes exceptional commitment to cultural diversity in medicine.
“Winning this award is a recognition of everyone who is working to improve the health of minorities in this country,” Dr. Correa said. “We know that health disparities are a big issue, and we need to change our system. This honor is not just for me but is for all physicians who are working to create change in their communities. Thanks to them we are moving toward a more equitable world.”
Dr. Correa’s current research focuses on decreasing diabetes and obesity disparities among Hispanic populations using peer support programs. In addition, along with his colleague and the fellowship’s associate program director Karyne Vinales, MD, Dr. Correa is also studying cardiovascular outcomes on transgender populations using hormone affirming therapy.
Dr. Correa said that the inspiration for his work comes from wanting to make a positive difference in communities without a strong public voice, like the Hispanic and transgender communities he works with. “I want to address the questions that they have and provide answers so they can improve their quality of life. These are communities that need a lot of help, and I became a physician to help them,” Dr. Correa explained.
“My future research plan will continue in the health equity arena,” Dr. Correa added. “This award gives me the strength to continue putting effort on multiple levels to support underrepresented minorities in medicine.”
The SGIM is an association of academic general internists with over 3,300 members. The Minority Health and Representation in Medicine Award presented by the society honors an “individual or representative of an organization who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to cultural diversity in medicine or to improving minority health,” the nomination website states.
The award is named in memory of the late Dr. Herbert W. Nickens, former director of the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, and the first vice president and director of the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Division of Community and Minority Programs. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Nickens established programs to increase the number of underrepresented minority students enrolling in U.S. medical schools.