BCHS’s Maria Salazar honored with the 2023 Bernard D. Goldstein Student Award

Dual master’s student Maria Salazar has been announced as the 2023 winner of the Bernard D. Goldstein Student Award in Environmental Health Disparities and in Public Health Practice.

Salazar, pursing an MPH in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at Pitt Public Health and an MA in International Development at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, focuses her research on the factors that drive and impact social vulnerability to disasters among marginalized communities.

Working with the Pitt SOLVER lab under the mentorship of Fernando Tormos-Aponte, PhD, Pitt assistant professor of sociology, their goal is greater equity in disaster preparedness and outcomes by examining political processes, logistics and preparedness strategies.

"Our work goes beyond researching disasters,” explains Dr. Tormos-Aponte. “We are actively pursuing ways to build resilient communities and shaping policies for a just future."

According to Salazar, the work holds great significance because it not only informs the development of policies, but also seeks to empower communities in coastal areas like Puerto Rico to build resilience in the face of adversities, such as the effects of climate change.

"The goal of our research is to show the complex interaction between disasters and recovery, facilitating

informed decision-making and building resilient societies," says Salazar.

The Bernard D. Goldstein Award was established in 2005 by Pitt Public Health Dean Emeritus Bernard Goldstein and his wife Russellyn Carruth, an adjunct professor in Environmental and Occupational Health. The $2,000 award was established for students or postdoctoral fellows at Pitt Public Health and is given alternately in one of two areas Environmental Health Disparities or Public Health Practice. It is available annually to eligible students through a competitive application process, to provide support for their research projects and education.