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Symbol of HOPE Award
Gabriel Rincon, DDS, CD, FOMFS
Gabriel Rincón, born in Puebla, Mexico, experienced undocumented immigration to New York as a teenager. He later returned to Mexico where he worked to pay for his education and studied dentistry at the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, graduating in 1981. After a year of community service in Hospital Montelimar, in Managua, Nicaragua, and a short stay in Mexico where he practiced his profession, Dr. Rincón moved to New York and worked various jobs before being accepted at the College of Dentistry of New York University, from which he graduated in 1991 with a DDS degree.
While serving as a Fellow in Oral Surgery at Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Rincón first encountered patients dying of AIDS. He started his own successful dental practice in 1993 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and a year later began working in the community by giving talks about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis prevention, and lead poisoning. In 2000, he and three other concerned community members formed Mixteca Organization, Inc., with an aim to serve recent Mexican and Latino immigrants to New York.
Dr. Rincón presently serves as President of the Board of Directors of Mixteca Organization; Sunset Park Lions Member; Sunset Park Health Council Member; and Lutheran Medical Center Board of Trustees Member; and volunteers tirelessly in administering and implementing the programs of Mixteca Organization.
The Governor of the State of Puebla, the Brooklyn Borough President, the Mexican Consul General, the New York City Council, Sunset Park Lion's Club, and the Health Department of New York City have recognized Dr. Rincón for his community efforts. Dr. Rincón received the prestigious Union Square Award and the Bank of America Local Hero Award. He has appeared on Spanish radio stations in New York and has been invited to several conferences to discuss Mexican immigrants in New York and the role of community-based organizations.
In September of last year, Dr. Rincón spoke on behalf of the New York Mexican community at a forum with Mexican President Felipe Calderon alongside the Mexican Ambassador, First Lady, and various Mexican Ministers. The following November, Dr. Rincón won the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader Award. In May 2012, Dr. Rincón was named Man of the Year by Casa Puebla New York.
The Robert F. Allen Symbol of H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People through Empowerment) Award is presented annually by the American Journal of Health Promotion to an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to serving the health promotion needs of underserved populations or to promoting cultural diversity within health promotion. The cash award is made possible through grants provided by the California Wellness Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and individual donors.