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Thomas J. Ward, PhD wins College’s first Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award

Thomas J. Ward, PhD, Department Chair and Professor of History, was one of four 2018 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award winners for his publication, “Out in the Rural: A Mississippi Health Center & Its War on Poverty” (Oxford University Press, 2017). Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities, announced the winners this week in this year’s category, "The Sciences."

“Out in the Rural” is the unlikely story of the Tufts-Delta Health Center, which in 1966 opened in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, to become the first rural community health center in the United States. Its goal was simple: to provide health care and outreach to the region's thousands of rural poor, most of them black sharecroppers who had lived without any medical resources for generations. Equal parts social history and personal history, “Out in the Rural” is a story of both community health and of a stranger's kindness and determination to bring health care to areas out of reach.

"It is obviously very exciting to win an Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award for ‘Out in the Rural,’ which was an extremely rewarding project, as I got to work closely with Dr. H. Jack Geiger, the father of community health in the U.S., and tell his story,” said Ward. “Being the first recipient from Spring Hill College is a great honor."

The Alpha Sigma Nu Book Awards have a 39-year history of promoting excellence in scholarly research at Jesuit member institutions, including all Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S., as well as four international institutions. The Awards are open to all faculty and administrators of these schools who have published a book in the three years immediately prior to the year of the discipline.

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