City of Tempe recognizes ASU Project Humanities with MLK Diversity Award

January 11, 2021

Arizona State University’s Project Humanities will be recognized for excellence in education by the city of Tempe at the 23rd annual MLK Diversity Awards ceremony on Jan. 15. Project Humanities will be among 11 organizations and people who will be honored for demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and for exemplifying the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year, the city of Tempe accepts community submissions of adults, students, businesses and organizations who live, work or volunteer in Tempe and contribute to making Tempe a more inclusive city. After reviewing submissions, the Tempe Human Relations Commission selects the winners in a number of categories.  Download Full Image

This year’s education category winner, Project Humanities, works to facilitate critical conversations through multidisciplinary and inclusive public programming that engages local, national and international communities in humanities discussions.

Neal Lester, professor of English at The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of Project Humanities, said diversity work is not often intersectional, typically focusing on one or two areas. This is something he says Project Humanities works to overcome through their work.

“Our approach for the past 10 years has been to see individual identities through multiple lenses of lived experience,” Lester said. “Our work is about human ties that bind us all to each other through narrative and storytelling that is both radical and transformative. The community conversations we have are never about telling folks how to think but rather to invite ourselves and each other to think more critically about complicated ideas.”

From workshops and lectures with thought leaders to film screenings and virtual hackathons for social good, Project Humanities has continued to find ways to engage the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. This continued dedication to highlighting interconnectedness of humanity, justice and equality was central to Project Humanities being selected for the award.

Lester said the life and work of King often informs their efforts and inspires them to continue working to fulfill their mission of bettering the community.

Project Humanities team (right) with panelists at the “Dispelling the Myths: The Angry ‘Other’” event on Feb. 28, 2018, hosted at SEMA Foundation (Chandler).

“We are in the business of telling stories of us that encourage, challenge and inspire us all to be better and to do better,” he said. “This message is certainly one that propelled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to stay the course even when others doubted, challenged and aggressively sought to stop his work. Though he is not physically with us — his life tragically cut short precisely because of his unflagging justice work — we are inspired and challenged by his deep commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of justice for one and all.”

The Jan. 15 awards ceremony will be held virtually and will feature keynote speaker Tempe Mayor Corey Woods.

“Congratulations to Project Humanities and all the MLK Diversity Award winners for the exceptional work they do in Tempe,” Woods said. “Project Humanities offers real tools to teach people how to be more inclusive, compassionate and kind to each other. Programs like this one are vitally important to creating a more equitable community.”

The awards ceremony will be broadcast live at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15 on Tempe 11, the city of Tempe Facebook, Cox cable channel 11 and on Century Link 8012. The awards ceremony recording will also be made available to watch after the event at

Emily Balli

Manager of marketing and communications, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

New medical director joins ASU to advance clinical and translational research

January 11, 2021

Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions has announced the selection of Dr. Frank LoVecchio as the new medical director of clinical and community translational research. 

LoVecchio will provide medical oversight of clinical and community translational research studies aimed at improving population health. In this role, he will foster research collaborations both within the university and in the greater community that employ the translational research process, which shortens the time from research discovery to clinical practice.  Frank LoVecchio Frank LoVecchio

An attending physician in the Department of Medical Toxicology at Banner University Medical Center, LoVecchio practices emergency medicine and critical care and is board certified in emergency medicine, medical toxicology, medical forensics and addiction medicine. He also holds research scholar and professorships at both the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Creighton University School of Medicine in Phoenix. 

He is the principal investigator for the EMERGEncy ID NET, a group of emergency departments funded through the Centers for Disease Control to conduct infectious disease trials. Together with collaborators he has garnered more than $15 million in research funding throughout his career.

As part of his work with the College of Health Solutions, he will join the college's Clinical and Community Translational Science program as a key addition to the team working to significantly advance research at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. The program is led by Scott Leischow, a College of Health Solutions professor and director of clinical and translational science.

“We are pleased that Dr. LoVecchio has joined our team as medical director. His extensive clinical experience, as well as his expertise in laboratory and clinical research, will be essential as we expand our Clinical and Community Translational Science program in collaboration with partners at ASU and in the community,” Leischow said.  

In previous positions, LoVecchio served as director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. He also served as vice chair and research director at the University of Arizona College of Medicine at Maricopa Integrated Health (now Valleywise Health). In the course of his professional work, he has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and textbooks.

“Dr. LoVecchio is a well-known and highly regarded medical professional who will accelerate our efforts to take research from discovery into practice to improve the health of people and communities across Arizona. His expertise in clinical trial research will be invaluable as we collaborate across ASU and with community partners on solutions that help people stay healthy, improve their health and manage chronic disease,” said Deborah Helitzer, dean of the College of Health Solutions. 

“From my first discussions with Dean Helitzer, I saw a natural alignment between the mission of the College of Health Solutions and my strong passion for research to improve population health. I am truly honored to further this work in the ASU community and to collaborate with the esteemed faculty here,” LoVecchio said.

LoVecchio holds a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard Medical School of Public Health. He has served on several journal editorial boards and is the recipient of local and national teaching awards.

In addition to working with the College of Health Solutions, LoVecchio will provide medical oversight of clinical trials for ASU’s Biodesign Institute, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.