At its Centennial Gala held at the Newark Museum of Art, the United Way of Greater Newark presented its William M. Ashby Community Service Award to Denise V. Rodgers.
Rodgers, a physician, was honored Wednesday in recognition of her “exceptional dedication and contributions to community service.” The award is named in memory of Ashby, New Jersey’s first Black social worker who helped to establish the United Way of Greater Newark.
According to a statement by the United Way, Rodgers, a “trailblazing figure” in the field of healthcare and community service, has made a ”lifelong commitment to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations and has made a lasting impact on communities.”
Rodgers, as vice chancellor for interprofessional programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, trains students to become members of collaborative healthcare teams. Additionally, she serves as the RBHS chair in Interprofessional Education at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she holds the title of professor within the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.
In addition to her involvement with United Way, Rodgers chaired the board of the Greater Newark Health Care Coalition and the Newark Homelessness Commission. Rodgers is a member of the board of the Victoria Foundation and co-chairs the Health Subcommittee of the New Jersey Reparations Council.
Previously, Rodgers was the last president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and has led UMDNJ’s academic and clinical operations as executive vice president for Academic and Clinical Affairs and served as UMDNJ chief of staff. She has also served as the senior associate dean for Community Health at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
United Way of Greater Newark Board chair Vince Alonge said it was a privilege to honor Rodgers.
“Dr. Rodgers has been a trailblazer in the health industry and an important partner that has helped guide United Way of Greater Newark and our community through various health crises.”