Marsha Polk Receives Rob Portman Leadership Award

May 8, 2018

Marsha Polk was the recipient of the Rob Portman Leadership Award. This award is presented to an organization or individual from the tri-state region who has significantly contributed to the advancement of our mission through support, influence or involvement in substance use prevention. 

Marsha A. Polk, H.P.T. is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist and was Associate Director for Drug Abuse of the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) for over 20 years.  She also directed the Prevention Research Unit and now manages DPIC Education and Outreach. She has over 35 years of experience developing and obtaining funding for programs in the area of health, wellness and prevention.  Ms. Polk's dedication to the needs of disparate populations prompted her to develop, obtain funding, and implement specialized programs, to address the needs of various populations at risk.  Examples of such programs include: poison prevention and substance abuse prevention sessions to children in Head Start programs; life-skills training for preschoolers and their families; drug education and awareness programs for high risk African American families; tobacco prevention and intervention programs, child passenger safety projects, trauma informed care, and primary/elementary school- based substance abuse prevention programs for high/at risk populations.

Ms. Polk has acquired experience in the development (from concept development, scripting and pre-production to the finished product) and pre-testing of communications messages targeted at high-risk families and underserved populations.  Ms. Polk has also piloted and used a mobile van as a mechanism of delivering prevention services to high-risk populations in their neighborhoods. Ms. Polk has presented prevention/information/training sessions to professionals across the nationShe is renowned and respected for her expertise in the field of prevention science, coalition development, research, health promotion, and wellness.  Ms. Polk received a degree in Hospital Pharmacy/Technology from the University of Cincinnati.  She is also a Certified Prevention Specialist, Drug and Poison Information Provider, Certified Smoking Cessation Facilitator, and is certified in Trauma Responsive Care.  In addition, Ms. Polk served on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Evening and Continuing Education where she taught courses in the administration and coordination of prevention programs as well as grant-writing.  Ms. Polk has a faculty appointment pending at the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy. She is very active in grass-roots community development programs, and is a founding member of the People of Color Wellness Alliance (POCWA) Coalition where she now serves as Executive Director.  She has been a professional grant reviewer for the Ohio Hospital Association’s Foundation for Healthy Communities, served on the Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board Prevention Criteria and Strategic Planning Committee, Friends of the School for Creative and Performing Arts Funding Board, and the founding Board of Directors for the Coalition For a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati (now Prevention First!).

Ms. Polk most recently is among seven awardees who received funding to conduct quality improvement research for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  She has obtained funding, served as Project Director, Principal Investigator, and/or Grants Administrator for projects and programs totaling over ten million dollars.  She has received national recognition and numerous accommodations including: the Walter Corbean Award for service to alcoholics and their families; Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award; Nefertiti Award for Outstanding African American Women; and  most recently the Rob Portman Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership and community service. 

Congratulations Marsha Polk!