Our alumni and our community supporters give their time and expertise to support the health of so many communities – locally, nationally, and globally – and with these annual awards we are proud to highlight their dedication to public health and their exceptional service.
Every year the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the University of Arizona Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement give awards to alumni and community advocates for outstanding service and leadership in the field of public health.
Join us to celebrate our award winners and community advocates for their outstanding service and leadership during this past year. The awards will be presented at our MEZCOPH Homecoming Celebration: Reunite with Public Health Alumni & Community Leaders event on Wednesday, November 1. Our Homecoming Celebration will be part of the larger University of Arizona Homecoming festivities and events that will run from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, 2023.
Alumni of the Year Award, 2023-2024
PhD ’08, MBA
Dr. Mary Roary is a public health epidemiologist who focuses on infectious and chronic diseases. She currently serves as the Chief Equity Officer of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Dr. Roary also teaches as an Adjunct Professor at The Catholic University of America. She has worked across government, academia, and private industry.
Dr. Roary has worked in two components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2013 as a Program Director and Officer. At NIH, Dr. Roary was responsible for Health Promotion, Disease Prevention, Environmental Influences, Health Disparities, low resources in the “IDeA States” and Child Health portfolio. Dr. Roary has developed national funding opportunities, overseen complex budgets, mentored investigators in developing project grants, and disseminated research findings to stakeholders.
Dr. Roary previously served as the data lead for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Minority Health Committees on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Healthy People 2020, and Environmental Justice. She was the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator for multiple community-based participatory research grants at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona.
Dr. Roary earned her Ph. D. in Epidemiology and was an Epidemiology and Biostatistician CDC fellow at the University of Arizona. She holds several Master’s Degrees from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a Professor at Catholic University of America (CUA). Her ultimate goal is to become an influential champion of eliminating health disparities by identifying and implementing data-driven best practices that promote health equity and wellness.
About the award: The Alumni of the Year Award is given to the Zuckerman College of Public Health graduate who has bestowed honor on the college through significant contributions and accomplishments that embody the mission of the College. The award winner is recognized at Homecoming in a University-wide ceremony.
Global Achievement Award, 2023-2024
Commander Kerton R. Victory
PhD ’14, MS ’10, REHS
Dr. Kerton R. Victory is the Regional Global Health Security Advisor for West Africa in CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) and Commander (CDR) in the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service.
CDR Victory has contributed immensely to Global Health Security work in West/Central Africa including providing technical support for Ebola and Cholera preparedness activities, Cholera, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever outbreaks, and strengthening the region public health systems to respond to future infectious disease threats.
Before coming to Nigeria, CDR Victory served as a Senior Supervisory Emergency Public Health Epidemiologist on CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team (GRRT) in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB), supporting local health officials during some of the most difficult public health emergencies since 2019. He deployed to Zambia in April and August of 2021 to serve as CDC’s Lead Vaccine Technical Advisor supporting Zambia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) and other international and local partners with the COVID-19 vaccine implementation. His work in Zambia one of the most read CDC global health articles in 2021.
CDR Victory began his career with CDC in 2014 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer assigned to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked on several projects including evaluating crystalline silica exposures among granite countertop workers, evaluating Missouri’s Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance program, and providing technical assistance in epidemiology for the Ebola virus response in the Republic of Guinea and Dallas, Texas. In May of 2016, CDR Victory joined the NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response Office (EPRO) as an emergency coordinator supporting CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to protect the health and safety of emergency response providers and recovery workers.
CDR Victory received his MSc in Nutritional Sciences and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Arizona. He is also a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS). In his spare time, he enjoys travelling to different countries, hiking, and experiencing different cultures from around the world.
About the award: The Global Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have brought honor and credit to the University of Arizona and their profession in the global arena through professional achievement or humanitarian service.
Public Service Award, 2023-2024
Captain John McElligott
John McElligott serves as Executive Director and CEO of the Maricopa County Medical Society in Phoenix. He works to promote excellence in the quality of care and the health of the community. He lobbies on behalf of the organization and leads a staff that educates physicians, residents, and medical students. The medical society connects health professionals to advance individual care and population health. They are working to help physicians to create the future of medicine in Maricopa County.
After earning his MPH in policy and management in December of 2005, John worked for the Arizona Department of Health Services. He and his wife Leslie, a fellow Wildcat, moved to Washington, DC, where John worked for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. He then became deputy director at the Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, advocating on behalf of USPHS officers.
A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, John served in the Peace Corps in both Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar. He has continued public service as a Civil Affairs officer in the Army Reserve, where he commands the Bravo Company, 492nd Civil Affairs Battalion in Buckeye, AZ. His next assignment will be a tour in Germany. Civil Affairs Soldiers engage and partner with communities around the world to increase stability, enable local governments, and improve quality of life for civilians. They also work to protect civilians and reduce the root causes of instability. They make sure Army commanders are aware of what civilian communities abroad might need when caught in crisis zones, while also helping to direct the distribution of humanitarian aid.
John also serves on the board for the Alpha Nu chapter of Delta Omega, the honorary society in public health.
About the award: The Public Service Award recognizes individuals who are present or past holders of public office. Recipients have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the public.
Delta Omega Honorary Society Alumni Award, 2023-2024
Tara Radke, MPH, earned her Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona in 1999. She currently is the Chief of Grants and Research for El Rio Health where she has worked since 2008, is a member of their Senior Leadership team, and is responsible for over $32 million in government funding from over 55 grants. Prior to this, she was the Director of Grant Development and Management, and Director of Special Populations at El Rio for over 7 years, overseeing the HIV/AIDS and Healthcare for the Homeless specialty clinics, and has provided leadership to integrated behavioral health programs.
Tara has over 25 years of experience working in the HIV/AIDS field while at the Texas Department of State Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services, and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Tara received a Graduate Certificate of Clinical Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2015 and is also a Federal Grant Review Consultant. She is a member of the American Societies for Bioethics and Humanities, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Arizona Public Health Association, and the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. Tara is also the President and Founder of Tara Radke Consulting, LLC. Tara specializes in program development, implementation, and management; grant writing and evaluation; editing; and grants compliance and accountability.
About the award: The Delta Omega Honorary Society Alumnae Award recognizes a member who has brought honor to MEZCOPH and their profession in the public health field through professional achievement or humanitarian service.
Distinguished Citizen Award, 2023-2024
Greg Taylor focuses on strengthening Arizona’s social service safety net and improving quality of life for all Arizonans. Passionate about supporting children, families, and vulnerable adults, his professional career centers on designing and implementing programs for corporate social responsibility and community engagement.
Greg currently serves as the Regional Vice President, Community Affairs, for Arizona Complete Health, the Centene Corporation health plans in Arizona. Previously, he served as the Chief Community and Public Relations Officer at Community Partners, Inc. and Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, and Public Relations and Communications Director for Magellan Health Services of Arizona. Since 2011, Greg stewarded the investment of approximately $26 million in support of social service and nonprofit organizations. He currently serves as an elected member of the Pima Community College Governing Board, as the board chair for the American Heart Association (AHA) Tucson/Southern Arizona affiliate, and as a member of the AHA Western States Affiliates board. In 2016, the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named Greg Tucson’s 40 Under 40 Man of the Year. And in 2019, Greg and his wife, Jessi, co-chaired the Tucson Heart Walk, raising a record-setting nearly $300,000 for heart disease and stroke research.
Additionally, his work in public relations and marketing efforts has been recognized by the International Association of Business Communicators, Health Information Resource Center, and the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. Greg also holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in American Studies from Stanford University.
About the award: The Distinguished Citizen Award is given to a person in recognition of extraordinary service to the public or in nonprofit organizations or outstanding volunteer service.