Ruth C. Bailey award winner inspired by community engagement

Darryl B. Hood applauds university leadership for support of outreach and engagement

  • Franny Lazarus
May 2, 2022

Winning the 2022 Ruth C. Bailey Award for Multicultural Engagement left Darryl B. Hood, professor of environmental sciences in the College of Public Health at The Ohio State University, stunned.

“What was my reaction after I passed out, you mean?” was Hood’s response to a question about his reaction to the award.

“I was humbled, very much humbled. And then after the humbleness, it called for a bit of introspection and reflection on my career,” he said. “And at that point, I was almost in tears.”

The Ruth C. Bailey award was established in 2012 by alumnus Vincenzo Ferranti to honor Bailey, his adviser and mentor and a member of the university’s international student services staff from 1937-1974. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to campus multicultural interaction and understanding.

“Dr. Hood has woven his passion for diversity enhancement and inclusive excellence through all facets of his career, bringing light to many important topics and issues through research, teaching and service,” said Amy Fairchild, dean, College of Public Health. “To work with Dr. Hood is to know an active recruiter for minority students and an advocate not only for faculty and students of color in the college, but across the university. Within the college, he regularly offers advice and support for junior faculty. This form of engaged mentorship is instrumental in the lives of those who are developing their careers and – importantly – it lifts us all.”

Hood’s academic research focus is in the area of environmental public health. All of his currently funded  projects use the Public Health Exposome framework and Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) analytics that  seeks to understand disparate health outcomes within the context of historical structural inequities observed through an environmental lens. An example of this, Hood said, is the federal interstate highway system.

“Transportation is a good thing but there are unintended consequences. The highway system bisected many neighborhoods – most of them were minority neighborhoods,” he said. “So the Public Health Exposome framework allows us to look at the impact of traffic related and environmental pollution on the residents of those communities.”

Hood said he comes by this passion for understanding inequities honestly. His parents were actively involved with the civil rights movement. Hood himself was a plaintiff in Swan v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education which was argued before the Supreme Court on October 12, 1970 as one of the resulting test cases from Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. The emphasis his family placed on justice and equality led him to his work today.

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Originally published in Ohio State News.

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About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College's divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 19th among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 7-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Evaluation Studies (HOPES) and Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP).