Ricky Bluthenthal (Merrill ’86, Historical past and Sociology)—trailblazer, advocate, and champion of well being fairness and social justice for deprived and marginalized teams—has been named the 2022 Social Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
The Social Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded yearly to graduates of the division whose careers are characterised by their sustained and exemplary contributions to society by way of analysis, follow, training, coverage, or service. Social Sciences Dean Katharyne Mitchell had excessive reward for this yr’s alumni award recipient.
“Dr. Bluthenthal’s influential and cutting-edge social analysis paves the best way for ahead considering in each subject he research,” Mitchell stated. “UC Santa Cruz’s Social Sciences division is honored to call Dr. Bluthenthal because the 2022 Alumni Award recipient.”
The award reception will likely be held on April twentieth as a part of Alumni Week. Bluthenthal will likely be joined in dialogue by Alicia Riley and Naya Jones—UC Santa Cruz Assistant Professors of Sociology and core school members in UCSC’s International and Group Well being program.
“I am conscious of many deserving social science graduates at UC Santa Cruz, who’ve accomplished wonderful issues, and the parents who had been awarded beforehand are unbelievable,” Bluthenthal stated. “I’m very happy to be acknowledged by UCSC.”
Bluthenthal has revealed over 170 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals, is on the editorial board of the Worldwide Journal of Drug Coverage and Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and is an Affiliate Editor of the Habit Part for Annals of Medication.
He has acquired the Senior Scholar Award from the Medication and Society Part of the American Sociological Affiliation in 2020 and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Public Curiosity Award from the Society of Habit Psychology (Division 50) of the American Psychological Affiliation in 2018.
Bluthenthal says that his time at UC Santa Cruz was life-changing and instrumental in shaping his profession path.
“I had entry to unbelievable school who had been prepared to let me sit of their workplace and ask them 1000’s of questions on life, analysis, and instructing,” Bluthenthal stated. “Even after I graduated, the school that I labored with had been at all times in my nook, giving ethical assist, and even generally intervening instantly on my behalf. My expertise was wonderful, and I really feel very indebted to UC Santa Cruz.”
Whereas at UCSC, Bluthenthal was concerned within the creation of the campus-wide scholar authorities, the anti-apartheid divestment motion, and the adoption of an ethnic research breadth requirement. He additionally was part of the Third World and Native American Pupil press collective (TWANAS) the place he met his spouse, Nancy Berglass (Merrill ’85, Group Research)—the 2010 recipient of the Social Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.
After graduating in ’86, Bluthenthal went on to work on the Institute for Coverage Research, the place he centered on problems with city poverty for 2 years. He then went on to pursue his Ph.D. in sociology at UC Berkeley, throughout which era he was employed to conduct one of many first HIV epidemiology research amongst individuals who inject medicine within the Bay Space. The research discovered excessive charges of HIV amongst people dwelling in Richmond, Oakland, and East Palo Alto who inject medicine.
“Within the face of that, I needed to grapple with the truth that it was apparent the federal government wasn’t going to step in to try to arrest the unfold of HIV on this inhabitants,” Bluthenthal stated.
Due to the excessive charges of an infection the research uncovered, Bluthenthal helped begin the Oakland needle alternate program, and ran it for 5 years whereas he was a doctoral scholar. Bluthenthal says that each racial and social inequities he has seen and skilled all through his life, motivates him to advocate for and help deprived populations.
“There’s numerous expertise that will get left on the desk, as a result of we’ve got a system that discriminates in opposition to individuals, not solely due to their race, but additionally due to their revenue,” Bluthenthal says. “We have now a degree of inequality that is solely grown in my grownup life—and that is a alternative. We’ve ended up accepting diminished life alternatives for individuals.”
At the moment serving because the Affiliate Dean for Social Justice, Vice Chair for Variety, Fairness and Inclusion, and Professor within the Division of Inhabitants and Public Well being Sciences and the Institute for Prevention Analysis on the College of Southern California Keck College of Medication, Bluthenthal has designed and taught quite a few pioneering programs.
A few of his present analysis contains each qualitative and quantitative analysis with unhoused individuals who inject medicine, describing each their materials and social circumstances. Bluthenthal additionally seems at intensive case administration for houseless people.
Bluthenthal has stayed related to UC Santa Cruz all through his endeavors, having served on the Alumni Council, the UC Santa Cruz Basis Board of Trustees, and as a beneficiant donor. Bluthenthal may also be a speaker at UC Global Health Day, hosted at UCSC on Could 7.
“I actually do authentically love UC Santa Cruz, and I’m actually happy with the establishment,” Bluthenthal says. “UCSC has a shiny future.”