Social Work’s Washington Receives Gerald Ludd AwardPublished: March 15, 2011
Thomas Washington, an associate professor of social work and research fellow at CSULB, was named the recipient of the Gerald Ludd Award at the 2011 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities.
One of two “Emerging Leader Awards” given annually by the National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities (NAESM) at the conference, the Ludd Award honors an individual for his/her outstanding community service, dedication and contributions to remove HIV/AIDS and other health disparities from the African American MSM community.
“I am truly honored to have received the award,” said Thomas, who has been on the CSULB faculty since 2008. “I have seen too many people affected by HIV/AIDS. The impact on the Black and Latino sexual-minority male communities has been devastating; and it will take every village, healthcare professional, community, church, politician, scientist and household getting involved to make a difference in improving the situation.”
To be eligible for the Ludd Award, a nominee must have at least seven years of work and/or volunteer contributions in HIV/AIDS prevention or other health disparities, targeting the African American MSM community. Candidates also must have provided significant efforts in HIV prevention and/or other health disparities or show exceptional leadership.
Thomas has volunteered and worked in HIV/AIDS prevention, services and research for 10 years. He began as a psychiatric social worker providing out-patient mental health services to HIV positive veterans at the VA Hospital in Memphis. Currently, he is a member of the State of California Office of AIDS Planning Group, Advisory Network and is involved with the Long Beach HIV/AIDS Community Planning Group.
He was a volunteer with “Friends for Life,” an organization assisting HIV-positive men alienated from their families. He was president of “Until There’s A Cure” (University of Tennessee), and he has been an activist and fundraiser for local non-profit HIV-organizations in Tennessee, Maryland, and California.
“Dr. Washington is committed to preparing the next generation of ethnic-minority MSM through mentoring, education, health disparities research and advocacy,” wrote C. Kevin Malotte, CSULB professor of health science, in his nomination letter for Washington.
Academically, public health social work is the overarching theme of Washington’s research and scholarly activities. More specifically, his research interests include developing and evaluating community-based HIV/AIDS web-based intervention projects, and examining correlates associated with health disparities among minority males.
Washington is the principal investigator of an National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)/CSULB-RIMI funded sub-project, “HIV Status Awareness Model,” exploring the feasibility of using social marketing and innovative technology to motivate HIV testing among Black MSM. He has published research on HIV prevention and has presented his HIV research at national and international conferences, including the International AIDS Conference in Thailand (2004) and Canada (2006); 22nd International Conference on Social Work in Egypt (2009); and the NAESM Leadership Conference in Atlanta (2010).
NAESM was created in an effort to counteract the ever increasing spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color. Since the opening of its doors in 1990, NAESM has taken great pride in serving Atlanta’s minority community. As a non-profit community based organization, NAESM is a beacon of hope for those in need of love and understanding.