The National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse has honored Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of internal medicine and director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, with its National Award of Excellence in Public Service.
The award, presented to Aguilar-Gaxiola at the organization’s international conference this month, recognizes individuals “whose work in public service has promoted the development of Hispanic researchers in substance abuse and research on Hispanic drug abuse.”
The organization noted Aguilar-Gaxiola’s leadership at the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and the work he has championed by studying mental health in ethnic populations, including mental-health disparities in Mexican-origin populations living in California’s Central Valley.
Aguilar-Gaxiola, who will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming health disparities conference organized by the National Institutes of Health, is highly regarded for his work in identifying unmet mental health needs and establishing new models of service delivery so more underserved populations can have access to health-care services.
The network also pointed to his work with World Health Organization’s Mental Health Survey, where he served as the coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, and his efforts to coordinate National Mental Health Institute surveys in Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica and Portugal.
The group praised Aguilar-Gaxiola for bridging “the gap between service delivery and policy development by translating research into practice.”