Natalia Deeb Sossa Wins 2023 Thong Hy Huny Award

Farmworkers in a field

Natalia Deeb Sossa Wins 2023 Thong Hy Huny Award

Dr. Natalia Deeb Sosa

EHSC Member Natalia Deeb-Sossa recently received The City of Davis 2023 Thong Hy Huynh Award, which is given to local individuals or organizations promoting civil rights and civic engagement. 

community based participatory research

The Award recognized Dr. Deeb-Sossa for her leadership and support of the Davis Senior High School Black Student Union, as well as her work with Davis’s Latinx community. Commending Prof. Deeb-Sossa’s work, the City Council Stated that “while she is comfortable bringing [her community collaborators’] issues to the halls of power like the [Davis Joint Unified School District] board, the Davis City Council and the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, she has unwavering faith that they can come to those halls of power themselves and make their needs known.” Gloria Partida, the city councilor and former mayor, and chair of the Davis Phoenix Coalition, who nominated Deeb-Sosa for the award, said, “Natalia has been a stalwart supporter of the Latinx community in Davis for many years. ... Her work with our migrant community has created the ability for families to thrive and children to succeed.”

Dr. Deeb-Sossa is an interdisciplinary and transnational Chicana feminist health scholar who is renowned for her expertise in community-based participatory research (CBPR), including editing the anthology Community-Based Participatory Research: Testimonios from Chicana/o Studies in 2019, which showcases Chicana/a researchers’ experience with community-engaged and activist scholarship.

say before you spray

Several years ago, Dr. Deeb-Sossa co-led the Knights Landing Environmental Health Project. The project, which started soon after the COVID pandemic began, deployed personal protective equipment to essential workers, provided direct aid supplies and food, and pursued advocacy for testing and vaccination resources for the community. This project led to a collaboration between UC Davis EHSC’s Integrative Health Sciences Facilities Core and the Knights Landing One Health Clinic, which continues to this day with Dr. Nicholas Kenyon supporting UC Davis Medical students who perform lung function testing on farmworkers exposed to a variety of health hazards.

More recently, Prof. Deeb-Sossa, Prof. Dipak Ghosal, and EHSC Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee member Californians for Pesticide Reform received an EHSC Pilot award to develop and test a notification system for agricultural pesticide applications and evaluate the impact of this information on health-protective behavior in participating communities.  Based on this research, the team published Say Before you Spray: Strategies for Improving Pesticide Use Notification Design, which included recommendations for prioritizing the needs and conditions of those most at risk of pesticide exposure in California, including farmworkers, rural agricultural communities, children, communities of color, and low income communities.