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Health, Behavior and Society

The Reverend Melvin B. Tuggle II Commemoration and Community Excellence Awards

Honoring outstanding students and fellows who contribute to the health of East Baltimore


The Tuggle Excellence Awards were established to recognize the seminal contributions of Rev. Melvin B. Tuggle II in creating strong community partnerships to address health in East Baltimore. Tuggle, a lifelong East Baltimore resident, was a remarkable leader in disease prevention and health promotion. He held a faculty appointment in General Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and worked closely with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Nursing until his passing on October 17, 2018.

In 2016, the Community Excellence Awards were established by interested donors to recognize students and fellows of the Johns Hopkins University whose focus on the health of East Baltimore has been exceptional and who are dedicated to work in the community, with the community. 

Commemorative Celebration and Awards Ceremony

On November 28, 2018, faculty, members of the community and students gathered to celebrate the life and contributions of Rev. Tuggle

The 2018 Tuggle Excellence Award was given to Dr. Thomas V. Johnson, a Glaucoma Fellow at the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Johnson founded the Student Sight Savers Program with Wilmer Institute faculty mentor Dr. Harry Quigley. The Student Sight Savers program is a community organization comprised of trained medical students and supervising ophthalmologists who perform free vision screening in East Baltimore and provide follow-up eye care free-of-charge, effectively addressing preventable causes of blindness.

Darriel Harris, a PhD student in the Department of Health Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, received a Tuggle Commendation Award for his work with the Baltimore Food and Faith Project, and as a co-founder of the Black Church Food Security Network.

Honorable mention awards went to Marcella Hill, a doctoral student in the School of Nursing, for her work at the Henderson Hopkins School and the Healthy Lung Ambassadors Program; to Dr. Marissa Alert, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Medicine, for her work on the East Baltimore Diabetes Prevention Program; and to Asari Offiong, a doctoral student in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School, for her extensive work with adolescents, the Moveable Feast, and the East Baltimore Drug-free Community Coalition.

Group celebrates at Tuggle Commemorative Ceremony
Pictured: Pastor Marshall Prentice, Asrari Offiong, Darriel Harris, Tom Johnson, Marissa Alert, Diane Becker

Reverend Tuggle's generous contributions to the health of East Baltimore have been recognized nationally and will continue to be recognized at JHU with these awards to exceptional students. Congratulations to the 2018 Awardees for community work done with dedication and compassion.