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Dr. Sarah Kessler and Swope Health Recognized for Work in Global Health

Tuesday, October 15, 2019  
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Kansas City, MO (October 15, 2019) – Dr. Sarah Finocchario Kessler, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center will be recognized for academic leadership, and Swope Health will be honored for contributions to the community as part of the International Relations Council’s 2019 Global Honors Evening on Thursday, November 21.

Sarah Kessler, PhD, MPHThe Award for Academic Leadership is given to local individuals or educational institutions that contribute to global education in the Midwest. Past recipients have included the University of Missouri–Kansas City (2017), the Stowers Institute (2009), the KU Confucius Institute (2008), KCPT Public Television (1999), and Dr. E. Grey Dimond (1989). Dr. Kessler focuses her research on developing, evaluating, and adapting mHealth interventions like the HIV Infant Tracking System (HITSystem) to improve early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV, and prevent perinatal HIV transmission among pregnant women in Kenya and has brought a global perspective to her work at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Image result for swope health logoThe Award for Contributions to the Community is given to local individuals, organizations, or companies who have contributed to economic growth in the area and have shown exemplary service to their community. Past recipients have included the Consular Corps of Greater Kansas City (2017), Julián Zugazagoitia (2014), R. Crosby Kemper III (2013), Sporting Kansas City (2012), Seaboard Corporation (2010), and John P. McMeel (1998). For 50 years, Swope Health, seeing global health as a field with broad reach and important local implications, has worked to serve the underserved and address health disparities in and around the Kansas City community.

Each year since 1984, the IRC has recognized individuals and organizations for contributions to foreign policy and global affairs, international commerce, or the Kansas City community. This year's event, to be held from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Little Theatre at the Kansas City Convention Center, will be themed around global health. Amb. Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, will also be honored with the Distinguished Service Award for International Statesmanship and will present a keynote address on the importance and international implications of global health efforts. The celebration will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dessert, live entertainment, special recognitions, and the chance to meet some of Kansas City's most notable and beloved global citizens.

Global health is a field with broad reach and important local implications, including in our Kansas City area. Millions of lives have been positively impacted as access to health and healthcare has expanded thanks to the coordinated efforts of national governments, local communities, and international organizations. Still, significant work remains in our own communities and around the world to combat health disparities and challenges around infant and maternal mortality, chronic and infectious diseases, and the health of immigrant and refugee populations. New, innovative approaches and collaborative efforts in research, health system delivery strategies, and community-based health are essential to equalize access to health for everyone everywhere.

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 / Kansas City Convention Center – Little Theatre / 301 W. 13th Street, Suite 100 / Kansas City, Missouri 64105

5:30   Registration and reception with cocktails and appetizers. Meet-and-greet reception for VIP guests.
7:00   Program with keynote by Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D. – theatre-style seating (no tables)
8:30   Coffee and dessert reception

Registration is now open for individual tickets and event sponsorships. For more information, please contact Matthew Hughes, executive director of the International Relations Council, at or 816-423-2632.

About the IRC
The International Relations Council works in partnership with businesses, universities, community organizations, and K-12 schools to bring a global perspective to our community. We bring world leaders and dignitaries to the metro region, host forums for high-school students to interact with and learn from foreign-policy experts, and create opportunities for area business leaders to strengthen relationships abroad. Learn more at