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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Expert Named 2018 Woman of Distinction

Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci, professor and chair of the College of Health Sciences and director of Old Dominion University's Center for Global Health, was named a 2018 Woman of Distinction by the Hampton Roads YWCA.

According to the organization, the award recognizes women in the area who "exemplify the values and mission of the YWCA: eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all."

From Military to Medicine, the YWCA designated twelve women - including Akpinar-Elci - as honorees.

"This award is a symbol of my lifelong values and beliefs; I'm very grateful to receive it," Akpinar-Elci said. "In my professional life, I work for human rights, equality and nondiscrimination and always believe that our actions matter. I'm not getting just any award, it has iconic meaning for me."

She cites the Global Health Center as a cornerstone of her success, but acknowledges she's not alone in her efforts.

"Global health is not the same as international health. It refers to treating important, global issues, such as chronic diseases and mental health, with a holistic approach," Akpinar-Elci said. "When you work on global health, all the world is coming to your hometown. Our team has worked with community partners to transform the center into a hub that provides resources, new research, educational activities, service projects, and initiatives related to global health."

Looking ahead, there are still key issues targeting women's health that Akpinar-Elci, who holds an M.D. and a master's in public health administration, would like to tackle.

"My main experience is occupational health, so I really want to address inequality in the workplace and women's health in occupational settings. We still need women leaders in global health to provide role models and mentors for young girls, and to advocate for gender equality."

A March luncheon at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott is planned to celebrate all winners.