Our very own Denise English was honored this week by her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. Denise was awarded the Humanitarian Award from the University’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) on the occasion of the school’s 40th anniversary.
Denise was the first alumna to receive this honor, which was created “to recognize those who are respected by their peers, recognized as leading experts, and are devoted to the promotion of human welfare.”
According to Dr. Clifford E. Brubaker, professor and dean, SHRS, “Mrs. English has gone beyond the call of duty in her humanitarian efforts related to providing rehabilitation training and therapies to the people of Haiti. Her work has spanned more than two decades and we are very proud of her dedication and commitment to others. We boldly count her among our most deserving alumni award recipients.”
The following statement was issued by the University of Pittsburgh on June 16th:
A 1973 graduate of SHRS’s Department of Physical Therapy, English has been the driving force behind the development of the Rehabilitation Technician Training Program at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti. Having worked on development projects in that country since 1988, English realized the need for training programs that would develop local human resources and enable Haitian rehabilitation workers to serve in their communities. Once envisioned, she, along with a team of volunteer rehabilitation educators and clinicians from U.S. and Canadian universities, set about developing the curriculum and recruiting teachers. English and another instructor were providing student training in Haiti when the devastating earthquake rocked the island in January 2010. They continued the training and demonstrated hands-on skills as they assisted patients pouring into the area for care.
English is a volunteer professional with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO), Haiti site, where she serves as program director. She also serves as co-coordinator on their Rehabilitation Curriculum Committee, helping to develop a rehabilitation aide curriculum that can be implemented in other underserved areas. English continues to provide PT services in the Pittsburgh area and is actively involved in the American Physical Therapy Association’s Health Policy Administration Section and the Cross Cultural and International Special Interest Group. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association (PPTA), the Haiti Solidarity Group of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, and Health Volunteers Overseas/Physical Therapy Overseas, a board member of Friends of HAS Haiti, and is active in other Haiti-related organizations.