For years, while a student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Hansel Tookes, M.D., MPH, ’14, fought to get the Florida legislature to approve a bill allowing people who inject drugs to exchange used syringes for clean ones to slow the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases.
His persistence paid off.
In 2016, the IDEA Exchange, named after the Infectious Disease Elimination Act, became the first needle exchange program in the state of Florida. Research shows exchange programs are one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of disease.
In honor of his tenacity and dedication, Tookes, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease, has been named one of 11 national “Upstanders” by Starbucks, a program designed to shine a light on stories of everyday Americans who are doing extraordinarily courageous things.
Tookes was featured in a video that tells the story of his multi-year campaign to create the needle exchange program.
If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.