Heather Lusk to receive 2022 Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award

Posted on Nov 28, 2022 in Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) Harm Reduction Services Branch announced that Heather Lusk will receive the 2022 Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award. Heather is being honored for her outstanding contributions to increasing access to HIV/AIDS services in Hawai‘i!

“Heather has dedicated her career to expanding access to HIV/AIDS services and advocating for health equity,” said Dr. Glenn Wasserman, DOH Communicable Disease and Public Health Nursing Division Chief.

“In my over 30 years working in public health in a variety of capacities and settings, I feel that Heather is among the handful of my former colleagues whose contributions were and continue to be truly outstanding,” said Paul Davis, former director of the DOH Hawaii HIV Community Planning Group. “Heather continues to make significant contributions to the health of communities, particularly those which have been and still are marginalized and historically underserved. We need more Heathers in this field.”

Heather is the Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center and has over thirty years of experience dedicated to reducing health disparities and stigma related to HIV, viral hepatitis, and other chronic conditions linked to substance use. She is also the Chair of Partners in Care, Board Member of Oahu’s Homeless Coalition, and Co-Director of Hep Free Hawai‘i.

In 2018, Heather led the successful effort to combine the Life Foundation with the CHOW Project to form the Hawaiʻi Health and Harm Reduction Center (HHHRC). Under her leadership, the scope of HHHRC has grown to include HIV medical case management, syringe exchange program, HIV and hepatitis C counseling and testing, wound care, HIV pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, counseling & treatment, housing and homeless outreach, trangender care and social services, smoking cessation, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) services, monkeypox (MPV) outreach and vaccination, and operation of a medical clinic.

Heather worked at DOH’s STD/AIDS Prevention Branch in the early 2000s and helped form the standards of care for Hawai‘i residents living with hepatitis C. Heather was also an early and tireless advocate for harm reduction-based public health approaches and has been instrumental in the growth of harm reduction in Hawai‘i.

The award will be presented during the annual World AIDS Day ceremony at the Church of Crossroads in Honolulu on Thursday, December 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.  The public is welcome to attend the story in-person or by Zoom.

Suzanne Richmond-Crum passed away in August 2004 after serving for more than 10 years as director of the Hawai‘i Seropositivity and Medical Management Program (HSPAMM) of the DOH Harm Reduction Services Branch. The award was established in honor of the commitment and compassion she demonstrated in her HIV/AIDS work and is presented each year to an individual in Hawai‘i for their outstanding contribution in providing HIV/AIDS services.  2022 will mark the 19th annual bestowing of this honor.

For more information on statewide World AIDS Day events, visit https://worldaidsdayhawaii.org/.

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