2021 Yale-Jefferson Awards honor three Yalies for their contributions to society and community

The Yale-Jefferson Awards are presented annually, recognizing sustained public service that is individual, innovative, impactful, and inspiring. The recipients are three Yalies – a Yale College student, a graduate or professional school student, and a member of the alumni body – all of whom have demonstrated service that draws on the Yale community and benefits the world beyond Yale.

Once again in 2021, Yale will honor three deserving candidates, Yalies who have given back and paid it forward, whether it’s for those experiencing housing instability in New Haven, increasing access to educational resources, or their role providing healthcare to those in need.

Here are your 2021 Yale-Jefferson Award recipients – Nicky Brussel Faria ’21, Paola V. Figueroa-Delgado ’24 PhD, and Margaret Flinter ’80 MSN – all of whom will be honored during the October 4 Yale-Jefferson Awards ceremony and fireside chat, part of Celebrate Service Week 2021, which will be hosted October 4-11 (more details coming soon).

Nicky Brussel Faria ’21

Yale is honoring Brussel Faria for her commitment to improving the lives of people experiencing housing instability in the Greater New Haven area. While Brussel Faria has served this community in a myriad of ways, such as working as a legislative intern for the City of New Haven and participating in local housing justice advocacy, Y2Y New Haven lies at the heart of her service work.

Y2Y New Haven is a joint initiative between Y2Y Network, Youth Continuum, and Dwight Hall to open the nation’s second student-run youth overnight program. As a student leader of the project, who has contributed to nearly every facet of its work, Brussel Faria cannot wait to stand alongside other project stakeholders and team members and see Y2Y New Haven open its doors soon.

“At its core, Y2Y New Haven is a community effort,” said Brussel Faria. “I could not be more proud to be part of a project that centers youth voice, empowers individuals with lived experience of homelessness, and connects people from across the community. I feel lucky that this vibrant community and meaningful project were and are such a defining part of my college experience.”

Brussel Faria graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. This year she is continuing her studies at the Yale School of Public Health, where she is pursuing a master’s in health policy (’22) as part of a five-year dual-degree program. Brussel Faria is passionate about health equity and policy-mediated harm and hopes to work in related fields in the future.

Paola V. Figueroa-Delgado ’24 PhD

Yale is honoring Figueroa-Delgado for her work and dedication to increasing access to educational resources and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), as well as improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at Yale and beyond.

Figueroa-Delgado has made notable contributions through her work as outreach chair of the Yale Biological and Biomedical Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Collective, including two successful mentoring programs that have paired more than 70 students from across the United States with current doctoral or postdoctoral trainees at Yale, a lecture series that showcases diverse paths in science, and science education and communication programming. Through these programs, community college, undergraduate, and postbaccalaureate students receive additional training and tools that increase their readiness in STEAM.

In addition, Figueroa-Delgado has built partnerships with local community colleges and higher education institutions to foster a community and a network that provides access to Yale’s resources and educational programming.

“Every person that has the privilege to receive a higher education at an institution like Yale and be exposed to its resources and networks has the responsibility and obligation to make these accessible and actively work to dismantle systemic barriers that continue to disproportionately affect individuals that have been historically excluded,” Figueroa-Delgado said. “We have an obligation to invest in a diverse, equitable, just, and inclusive education and community.”

Margaret Flinter ’80 MSN

Yale is honoring Flinter, senior vice president and clinical director of the Community Health Center, Inc. (CHCI), and senior faculty and founder emeritus of its Weitzman Institute, for her steadfast dedication to providing healthcare services for those in need.

After graduating from the Yale School of Nursing, Flinter served as a National Health Service Corps scholar and new family nurse practitioner, joining the small staff of activists and clinicians of CHCI in Middletown, Connecticut. Under the living banner of “Health Care Is a Right, Not a Privilege,” they set out to build a model of comprehensive, innovative, and fully integrated primary care that today is recognized as one of the largest and most innovative health centers in the U.S. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CHCI embraced its role as an activist healthcare organization, standing up the largest COVID testing and vaccine operation in the state, from a mass vaccine drive to clinics at migrant farms, churches, schools, and homes.

In 2005, Flinter founded the Weitzman Institute as the research, innovation, and training arm of CHCI, noting that CHCI had the patients, data, and research questions to study persistent issues of access, health equity, and health disparities and test strategies to address them. Equally concerned with training future generations of healthcare providers, she launched the country’s first formal postgraduate residency and fellowship training program for new nurse practitioners in 2007, now a national model.

“I came to Yale and YSN with an abundance of energy and desire to make a difference through healthcare, but I didn’t appreciate how much impact Yale would continue to have on my life and career,” Flinter said. “In the years since leaving Yale, I have fully understood what it means to be a Yale nurse. The partnerships, support, and inspirations just keep on coming.”

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