ST. PAUL (Oct. 7, 2015) — The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday honored seven individuals and two groups for outstanding contributions to Minnesota’s public health system. The Community Health Awards were presented at the department’s annual Community Health Conference in Brainerd.
The Community Health Awards are given each year to public health professionals for their leadership, impact on reducing health inequity, dedication to serving the community and more. Awardees are nominated by their peers, chosen by a committee of the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee, and presented with their awards by Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger at the conference. For more information, please visit the Community Health Awards website.
“It is inspiring to hear the stories of these creative, dedicated people,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “There is so much good work taking place in so many areas of public health and it’s great to have the opportunity to recognize those achievements.”
The 2015 Community Health Award recipients include:
LOU FULLER AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN ELIMINATING HEALTH DISPARITIES
MaoHeu Thao, St. Paul-Ramsey Public Health
MaoHeu Thao received the Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities for her work to build bridges between the Twin Cities’ Hmong community, and metro health care and public health professionals. Thao currently serves as chair of the Hmong Health Care Professionals Coalition, which trains health practitioners to improve their understanding of, and response to, Hmong traditions and beliefs. Her achievements have led to great advances in trust and understanding within the Hmong community, and to also significant growth in cultural understanding and skill among public health and health care practitioners.
JIM PARKER LEADERSHIP AWARD
William Groskreutz, Faribault County Commissioner
Bill Groskreutz received the Jim Parker Leadership Award for his commitment to public health and leadership in improving public health and human services in Southern Minnesota. Groskreutz is well-known throughout state and local public health for his innovative, collaborative approaches to public health issues. He has served on a number of State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC) workgroups and has chaired SCHSAC. Groskreutz’s work on the SCHSAC Local Public Health Act Workgroup has been especially important and his keen understanding of the state-local public health partnership helped strengthen Minnesota’s local public health statute.
JACK KORLATH PARTNERSHIP AWARD
Marty LaVenture, Minnesota Department of Health
Marty LaVenture received the Jack Korlath Partnership Award for his dedication to promoting health informatics. LaVenture has advocated for a disciplined approach to information systems that supports improvements in public health practice, programs and outcomes. LaVenture helps to build an informatics-savvy public health workforce through frequent presentations that bring together state and national participants from across the care continuum.
COMMISSIONER’S AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES
Shannon Bailey, Dakota County Public Health
Shannon Bailey received the Commissioner’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services for her dedication to adolescent health issues in Dakota County. For over 20 years, Bailey has developed and implemented innovative and creative strategies to address a range of health issues including adolescent brain development, suicide prevention and early intervention, parenting, and reproductive health. Over the past five years alone, she has given more than 200 presentations to more than 7,000 people at schools, homeless shelters and the Dakota County Juvenile Service Center.
AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DEDICATION TO LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH
Bev Bales, Douglas County Commissioner
Bev Bales received the Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health for her advocacy of policy, systems and environmental changes for improved health. She has also served as a member of the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC) for over 10 years, including as SCHSAC chair and as regional representative to the SCHSAC Executive Committee. Bales is a true “servant of the people,” advocating on behalf of mental health, domestic violence, tobacco cessation and more. She serves on one national, two state and 23 local committees.
CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION
Patrick Hanlon and the Minneapolis Green Business Matching Grant Program
Patrick Hanlon and the Minneapolis Green Business Matching Grant Program received a Certificate of Recognition for their work to reduce emissions in the city by providing grants to high-emitting business sectors including dry cleaners and vehicle services. Under Hanlon’s attention, the program will more than quadruple the amount of air emissions reduced—from 5,000 lbs. of emissions in 2014, to 25,000 lbs. in grant requests in 2015 thus far.
CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION
Carol Meissner, Horizon Public Health
Carol Meissner received a Certificate of Recognition for her dedication to her clients and to the community. Meissner started with Douglas County Public Health 38 years ago and now leads the Child, Family and Community Health Division within Horizon Public Health.
CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION
Wright County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council
The Wright County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council received a Certificate of Recognition for the group’s dedication to public health-related emergency issues long before federal grants were available for this work and before public health departments had established requirements. The council includes representatives from fire, emergency medical services, police, the sheriff’s department, hospital emergency departments, county emergency management, county nuclear emergency management, county commissioners and public health.