Dedicated to Helping the Underserved: Sabrina Matoff-Stepp

By OBOS — May 2, 2009

From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011

Entrant: Morrisa B. Rice

Nominee: Sabrina Matoff-Stepp, Ph.D., HRSA Office of Women’s Health Director

smatoff-steppI am pleased to nominate Sabrina Matoff-Stepp as a 2009 Women’s Health Hero.  For the last two years, she has not only been my supervisor but also one of my best mentors. Sabrina is always willing to help others strive to be the best they can be. She is sought out as a mentor by student interns, fellows, and scholars because of her commitment to mentoring and giving back. She is a role model for many people looking for a strong and caring leader.

Sabrina has given me confidence in my ability to advance in my career goals, and help others who are beginning their Federal careers. Perhaps this is because she started her federal career almost 20 years ago as a clerk-typist and has worked every day since to be who she is today!

For the last six years, Sabrina has been the Director of the Office of Women’s Health at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In this capacity, she is responsible for coordinating women’s health activities across HRSA programs, and building collaborations across federal, state, and local levels. One of the most amazing things about Sabrina is that she worked full time while in graduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park!

She completed her Masters degree in 1998, focusing on body image concerns of African American and Caucasian women over age 30, and her doctoral dissertation in 2007, which focused on the impact of case management on outpatient visits for men and women living with HIV/AIDS.  Her ability to multi-task and stay on course is like none other! Besides her job and her school work, Sabrina is also a peer reviewer for a health education honorary journal, and the lead behind the creation in 2007 of an undergraduate scholarship award for minority students at the UCLA School of Nursing.

Sabrina is a passionate advocate for persons living with HIV/AIDS, particularly women. Last year, she helped organize a three hour learning institute focused on women and HIV/AIDS at the 2008 Ryan White All Grantee Meeting. In addition, she has led a HRSA effort to create a quilt recognizing the strengths of women living with HIV/AIDS.  She is a fierce and loyal advocate and community volunteer to help other underserved populations, as described briefly below.

Since 2000, Sabrina has volunteered for McKenna’s Wagon, a mobile soup kitchen program at Martha’s Table, Washington D.C.  The program operates seven days a week, 365 days a year. Teams go out into the Washington D.C. community and provide free sandwiches, soup, desserts and beverages to the city’s homeless population. Sabrina volunteers with a church group the first Sunday of each month to help with this activity.

More recently, Sabrina has begun volunteering at Calvary Women’s Shelter in Washington D.C., a nonprofit organization that provides housing and support services to homeless women. She has taught two classes on nutrition and emotional wellness to the women residents and has been asked to continue teaching on a monthly basis. On an international level, Sabrina has sponsored a young girl and her family in Zambia since 2003. Sponsorship provides for basic health necessities, medicine, and clothes. Sabrina loves writing to her sponsored child and receiving letters and photos back!

Sabrina remains dedicated to help the underserved, especially women, in her personal and professional life.  She is always willing to listen, to lend a hand, and to go the extra mile. Therefore I highly recommend Dr. Sabrina Matoff-Stepp for the 2009 Women’s Health Hero award.

Contest Administrator Note: Add 9 votes to the total below — entry was accidentally posted twice and we consolidated the votes and comments.

4 responses to “Dedicated to Helping the Underserved: Sabrina Matoff-Stepp”

  1. I don’t seem to be able to vote so I’m leaving a comment to let you know

    how passionate Sabrina is about womens health issues. She has a wonderful caring heart and is always willing to take her time to help others.

    When not at work she is frequently studying and researching to find some new way to be of help to someone. She is never satisfied with being idle.

    She has a true desire to change the world we live in and feels the need in her heart to find a way to make it better.

    I believe she deserves to be reconized for all she does both professionally

    and personally.

  2. Sabrina is truly passionate about her work, friends, family, and women’s health issues. We met in the classroom at U Maryland. I knew from the start that Sabrina was an exceptional person. Aside from being an astute learner, she brought enormous perspective and insight about women’s health issues to our classroom discussions.

    On a personal note, I owe Sabrina a debt of gratitude. Sabrina’s personal example and mentoring skills helped me to complete my own dissertation. Sometimes students are not willing to help others or share their knowledge and opinions. Not Sabrina. She lead our informal dissertation “support group” and made sure that all of us stayed on track until we finished. As “adult learners” it was not unusual to become overwhelmed by graduate school, work, and family obligations, but Sabrina was there to cheer us on.

    Sabrina’s intellect, integrity, and passionate dedication to public health have improved the health of American women. I am so proud to be her friend and colleague.

  3. Sabrina is truly and amazing woman whose desire to help others comes from the deep recesses of her heart. She is a blessing to all who are the recipients of her love and kindness.

  4. AWESOME! Sabrina is awesome in everything she does. I have been priveleged to know and work with her for almost 20 years. Never has there been a more dedicated, passionate individual than Sabrina. She can see broadly and focus closely. She loves the academic world, but at the same time knows how to put academic thinking into active projects to aid all women. She empowers those she touches to do the right thing and works tirelessly on behalf of those who cannot help themselves. She is truly as hero and deserves total recognition for her superb accomplishments!

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