College of Public Health students graduating

Coker Receives Visionary Voice Award

Ann L. Coker, PhD, MPH, Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and College of Medicine, is the recipient of a Visionary Voice Award, a national award sponsored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).  The Visionary Voice Award recognizes the creativity and hard work of individuals around the country who have demonstrated outstanding work to end sexual violence.

The award was presented to Dr. Coker by the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) at their Sexual Assault Awareness Month awards dinner held after the ceremony proclaiming March Sexual Assault Awareness at the Kentucky Capitol on February 26, 2014 in Frankfort, Kentucky. 

When asked about receiving the award, Dr. Coker replied, “I share with KASAP the vision that preventing sexual violence is possible. We are evaluating the first statewide randomized intervention trial in 26 high schools across Kentucky. The intervention, Green Dot, is a bystander –based program to increase awareness of sexual violence and dating violence and empower high school students to safely and effectively intervene with their peers to change with attitudes and behaviors and thereby reduce risk of violence. I am honored to have the opportunity to be a partner in this important research. Working on this project clarifies the importance of rigorous public health training and matched with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.”

KASAP Executive Director Eileen Recktenwald said it’s becoming easier for people to talk about sexual violence, and that is making a difference. “It’s gotten a lot easier to talk about, because – from the White House down – we are seeing a straightforward response to the problem,” she said.

Dr. Coker joined the University of Kentucky in 2007. She is nationally recognized as an expert on the effects partner violence has on women’s health. Dr. Coker has worked extensively in the field of women’s health; particularly in areas of intimate partner violence, interventions to reduce the risk of violence that impact both men and women’s health, women’s chronic diseases, as well as reproductive and sexual health. Dr. Coker has also led and been a part of many research projects, some of which include an evaluation of a new intervention to prevent dating and sexual violence and she is also investigating whether violence against women result in disparities in cancer care for women.  

The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) is the coalition of Kentucky’s 13 Regional Rape Crisis Centers. The representatives of each of the 13 Rape Crisis Centers make up KASAP’s Board of Directors. Since it was established in 1990, KASAP has served as a central point of contact on sexual violence issues in Kentucky. KASAP provides technical assistance to member programs and other professionals, advocates for improvements in public policy, fosters coalition building among members and those with common concerns, and promotes prevention and public awareness regarding sexual violence and related issues.