Individuals and groups were recognized for their dedication and work at the 2022 Student Leadership Awards event.

The MGH Institute’s Office of Student Affairs and Services recently hosted its annual Student Leadership Awards, presenting seven awards recognizing exemplary leadership, innovation, collaboration, and dedication to social justice. 

Thirty-eight nominations from students, faculty, and staff were reviewed by the 2022 selection committee that was led by staff members Luella Benn, Hailey Laflin, and Jammy Torres-Millet. 

“Leadership is a quality that few people possess innately, but as we have seen, it can be learned if it is authentically modeled,” said Jessica Upton, Manager of OSAS’s Center for Career and Professional Development, who noted several examples including hosting fundraisers for Ukrainian families, working on exposing structural violence, and accessibility research. “This award ceremony is our opportunity to celebrate what IHP student leadership has looked like this year. We’ve seen countless expressions of empathy, collaboration, and selflessness from so many students and we thank them for challenging us all to actualize our full potential.”

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a student who has made incredible strides in their growth as a leader and whose conduct models the IHP mission and core values. This year’s recipient was Scarlett Santos Soto, MSN ’24. Santos was described as a “true community leader” who continually facilitated communication between her cohort and faculty/staff when challenges arose, all the while serving on the Students for Equity and Advocacy and the Admissions committees to strengthen the IHP community for future cohorts. 

The Innovative Spirit Award recognizes a student or group that has embodied innovation, collaboration, and motivation in the creation of a new, outstanding, interprofessional program or event. This year, the award was given to Kanisha Ffriend, MSN ’24. Ffriend was described as having consistently supported staff and faculty by collecting student thoughts and voices and making innovative changes that on several occasions brought the cohort closer together.

The Be the Change Award, which honors one student or group who has improved the community’s culture around race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, and more, was given to Brianna Abbas, MS-SLP ’22. Abbas was honored for her work to improve inclusivity, cultural responsiveness and change advocacy throughout the IHP community and within her field. 

The CARE Award goes to a student group that has significantly committed itself to the service of others through addressing health inequities, community health projects, providing healthcare guidance and focusing on the overall health of the individual and communities. This year, it was given to second year SLP students Joseph Deauna, Minsi Sun, Mexian Li, Xhouxhou Wang, and Ashley Victor. They were recognized for their work on a weekly, after-school curriculum they created and shared with the Boston Area Health Education Consortium, which included them teaching the high school students about the interprofessional nature of the SLP profession.

The Outstanding Impact Award is presented to a group of students that have made an exceptional contribution to the quality of campus life at the MGH Institute over the past academic year. This year’s recipient was Students for Equity and Anti-Racism, a student organization that has worked with the School of Nursing to promote equity and anti-racism at the IHP.

The Outstanding Student Leader of the Year Award is presented to a student or students who have made exceptional contributions to the MGH Institute community through leadership, collaboration, integrity, and community service. Kana Sakai, MSN ’23 and Corliss Kanasawa, MSN ’22 are this year’s recipients. Their work on including the Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion core competencies as part of an implicit bias workshop for an SON course was cited, as was serving on the curriculum integration task force where they helped collect qualitative data to help better understand students’ experiences in the classroom. 

The Advisor of the Year Award, which is determined by student votes, recognizes a faculty or staff advisor for their outstanding work in guiding a student organization towards accomplishing its mission. This year’s recipient is Dr. Kaveri Roy, who was cited as an excellent listener to student voices, and an advocate for amplifying student voices. 

In addition, Student Government Association presented its annual Outstanding Service Award to Dr. Alex Johnson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who is retiring in June after 14 years as the IHP’s first academic leader. He was recognized for commitment to interprofessional education, creating the Office of Student Affairs and Services as its own division, and his overall innovation, creativity, and dedication to student success.

The event also featured Alyssa Savery, SLP ’19, who spoke about her experience as a student leader and how that work has continued to pay dividends as licensed speech-language pathologist in Florida.

“Student leadership on this campus takes many forms, so we set out to recognize various works of advocacy, service, community-building, research, and more,” said Dean of Student Services Jack Gormley. “Despite their busy academic schedules – and often working part-time and caring for family – many of our students make time for significant co-curricular projects and extracurricular activities. We’re proud to honor their dedication.”