‘Trailblazers’ Miles and Hewlett Honored
Annual event recognizes African American individuals who have made contributions to the history and culture of Westchester County
WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins honored two remarkable African American citizens recently for their professional accomplishments and community efforts at the 2022 Trailblazers Awards Ceremony. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the “Trailblazers: Preserving our Legacy” ceremony was hosted virtually as part of the County’s celebration of Black History Month. The awards recognize African American individuals who have made great contributions to the history and culture throughout Westchester County.
Latimer said: “While we are not able to gather in person at the Jay Heritage Center as we normally would, it is more important now than ever that we recognize the prominent role African Americans have played in our County’s history. Westchester County is home to rich African-American history itself, as notably seen on our African-American Heritage Trail. Tonight, we celebrate two outstanding individuals who have stood out above the rest for their public service and commitment towards making Westchester County a better place for us all. Together, we must ensure that the legacies of those who came before us, are never forgotten.”
Jenkins said: “Every year, we use the month of February as a platform to honor, recognize and learn from the African American leaders who helped shape our nation’s history. Tonight’s Trailblazers have proven their commitment towards advancing health and human services, education and public service in Westchester County. Everyone blazes their own trail and creates their own path, and these honorees are leaving a lasting footprint for the next generation of leaders to follow in their footsteps.”
Chair of the African American Advisory Board Barbara Edwards said: “As we pay tribute to the 2022 Trailblazers in recognition of Black History Month, we honor them in the name of other heroic predecessors so as not to forget their struggle, sacrifice and contributions that continue to sustain us. Every American can draw strength from the story of hard-won progress, which not only defines the African American experience, but has left an indelible imprint on the history of Westchester County. We are inspired by our honorees commitment and their remarkable impact on shaping the quality of life for all of us while charting promising pathways for a better County and nation.”
The Trailblazers Awards Ceremony included a highlight video on Larry H. Spruill, Civil Rights Scholar and Public Historian. Spruill’s piece explores the history of the African American Advisory Board, the African American Heritage Trail in Westchester County, and the historical significance of the Jay Heritage Center in Rye. The Trailblazers Awards also included a video segment on the new signage at the African American Cemetery in Rye, and a special tribute honoring the life and legacy of the late Reginald A. LaFayette.
The 2022 Trailblazer Honorees received awards in the areas of Education, and Health and Human Services. This year’s honorees are as follows:
The Cecil H. Parker Award for Education: Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D.
Belinda S. Miles serves as the first African American and female president of Westchester Community College, the largest higher education institution in Westchester County, educating and training more than 26,000 students annually. WCC, a federally designated Minority Serving Institution, has doubled graduation rates with targeted increases of graduation rates among students of color in Business and STEM majors since Miles’ arrival in 2015.
A recognized thought leader in community college education, Miles leads teams at Westchester Community College that provide pathways for all members of our community who seek higher education and access to economic mobility. Miles firmly believes that community colleges are places that reflect the democratic ideals of equity, inclusion and access for all.
Alongside colleagues at the College, Miles emphasizes WCC as a caring community that supports the mental health and well-being of students and employees, as well as their academic and professional aspirations. She focuses her Board service on workforce development, economic mobility and the future of work, and has provided leadership as a member of the Anti-Racism Task Forces for the Business Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. Miles proudly serves the community as a member of the Westchester County (NY) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and Mount Carmel African Methodist Episcopal Church in New Rochelle (NY).
The Dr. Valiere Alcena Award for Health and Human Services: Dial Hewlett, Jr., MD, FACP, FIDSA
Dr. Dial Hewlett Jr. serves as Medical Director of Disease Control, and Deputy to the Commissioner for the Westchester County Department of Health. In this position, he has served as Chief of Tuberculosis services and since March 2020, he has supported the Health Department activities aimed at COVID-19 prevention, including the COVID mass vaccination initiatives for adults and children.
Prior to joining Westchester County, Hewlett served as Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center in the Bronx, New York, and Assistant Professor of Medicine with NY Medical College. He subsequently became an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, and served for a total of nine years at Lincoln prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry at the end of 1996.
Hewlett held a 23-year career in the pharmaceutical industry with Pfizer Inc. based in New York City and later in suburban Philadelphia. Hewlett simultaneously served on the voluntary medical staff as an Infectious Disease consultant at Lawrence Hospital Bronxville, New York, and as an Infectious Diseases consultant and Co-Chair of Infection Control at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, NY.
Hewlett is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, The Infectious Disease Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine. He was the recipient of an Infectious Diseases of America Citation Award in 2021. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, NY and is a member of the National Medical Association Task force on the COVID Vaccines.
Hewlett has been married to Janice Marie Chance-Hewlett BSN RN for nearly 40 years. They have four adult children and four grandchildren.