USF’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity presented the award to Steffen, who serves as the deputy Title IX coordinator for USF Health and a Title IX investigator for the USF System.
The award recognizes the contributions she’s made educating university stakeholders on their duties as responsible employees. It also acknowledges the work she’s done mitigating and eliminating gender-based discrimination via investigations and student, staff and faculty training.
“Investigating Title IX violations is difficult and challenging work,” commented Steffen, who recently traveled to Allentown, Pa., to help facilitate the training of hundreds of doctors in the Lehigh Valley Health Network (partners with USF Health through the Morsani College of Medicine SELECT Program) in Title IX compliance.
“Our goal, when possible, is to resolve incidents through informal mediations. However, some inquiries become investigations, which can take six months or longer to complete. Ultimately, the university has a responsibility to stop, remedy and prevent gender discrimination. But, as uncomfortable as the work can be, it’s also very rewarding when you help individuals move forward and become successful in their educational endeavors and take back their personal decision-making,” she said.
Steffen credits her public health education with giving her the skill set needed to do Title IX work.
“Public health made me understand the importance of connecting individuals to proper community services—counselors, wellness coaches, law enforcement—with warm handoffs so they can improve their overall well-being during their time of need. It’s the kind of work that benefits the community as a whole,” she said. “And that’s really what public health practice is.”
Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health