Betty Hubbard Maternal and Child Health Leadership Award Recipients

 

2013

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Statewide:

Luanne Nyberg received the statewide award for work her on building systems that help children. In 1985 she founded the Children's Defense Fund Minnesota. Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota focus on the needs of all Minnesota children, particularly children being raised in low-income households who suffer greater barriers to full participation in society as a result of being born into poverty.

Through her work, Minnesota has secured hundreds of millions of state dollars to supplement federal funding for child care, Head Start, WIC, school breakfasts, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), low income tax credits tied to children, and the creation of a state emergency jobs program that employed tens of thousands of state residents during recession in the early 1980s.

Luanne was a champion for expanding health coverage to children though the creation of the Minnesota Children’s Health Plan. This was one of the first state initiatives to address the needs of uninsured children in the country and later served as the foundation for MinnesotaCare. She also served as Public Health Advisor to the Minnesota Attorney General’s tobacco team during the landmark tobacco suit which resulted in public health gains and $6.2 billion for the state.

Nyberg has passed her passion for children’s health to others through her teaching and mentorship positions in the Maternal and Child Health Program at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

2012

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Statewide:

Annamarie Saarinen received the statewide award for work on assuring screening of newborns for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). Congenital heart disease is a heart defect that affects one in every 100 newborns. She has spearheaded both state and national efforts to ensure that all newborns are screened. She has founded two organizations – 1in100.org following her daughter’s diagnosis of critical congenital heart disease and the Newborn Coalition/Newborn Foundation, an organization that brings together experts to collaborate on health policy and advocacy at the national level.

Annamarie was the lead instigator and policy liaison for the Newborn Health Screening Project, a Minnesota-based project that brought together the Minnesota Department of Health with the state’s largest health systems to develop protocol for the CCHD screening of newborns. This program has since been used as a model for national standards. Since 2010 Saarinen has assisted more than a dozen additional states in advancing adoption and implementation of heart defect screening for newborns.

Community:

Gay Bakken was recognized for her work on a program that provides home visiting support to families with multiple risk factors in the Twin Cities metro area. Gay has had a long career working in Dakota County to improve the health of mothers and children.

Gay promoted an intensive home visiting model that could best serve families. This model became the Dakota Healthy Families program. The goal of the program was to provide intensive services to new families to get ahead of the complex issues that can affect the health and well-being of infants and parents. While the program was successful, it was apparent that families moved frequently to other counties. Gay began facilitating meetings with other counties to see if they could collaborate to better serve families. In 2007, the Dakota Healthy Families model expanded to the Metro Alliance for Healthy Families, which is a nine-county collaborative effort to implement this model.

2011

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Statewide:

Brigid Riley served for seven years as executive director of Teenwise Minnesota. She has worked to assure that the professionals working with teens actually hear from teens by creating opportunities for education and interaction. Through her leadership, Teenwise became the Minnesota training replication partner for implementation of Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®). She worked to find ways for people to have difficult discussions about the controversial topics of adolescent sexual health, pregnancy and parenting and identifying action that can be taken to support teens. She has consistently advocated for the protection of Minnesota's Minors Consent Law and effective sexuality education. Brigid is committed to ensuring that pregnant and parenting teens have the support they need to become the best possible parents, further their educational goals and create plans for the future.

Community:

Danielle Le Bon Gort is the Maternal and Child Health Team Leader for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She has worked as a public health nurse with the Fond du Lac tribe for 10 years. Much of her work has focused on assuring that women have access to the services they need to have healthy pregnancies and obtain positive parenting skills. Le Bon Gort is active in a regional doula organization and has initiated a doula program specific to American Indian women on the Fond du Lac reservation and in surrounding counties. Through Le Bon Gort’s advocacy, she was able to bring the Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) model to the Fond du Lac community. This was the first time NFP had been adopted by a tribal government, and this implementation led to the expansion of the program to other tribal communities.

2010

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Statewide:

The 21st annual Betty Hubbard Maternal and Child Health Leadership Award was presented to Grit Youngquist. For more than 21 years, Grit has served as the adolescent health and healthy youth development coordinator for Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health. She is widely regarded as a teen pregnancy prevention and healthy youth development expert in Minnesota. In addition to working in county government, she is actively involved in advocacy at the community and statewide levels. She is involved in increasing the understanding of the connection between sexual violence and teen pregnancy and is highly regarded for her ability to bring together diverse groups of adults and youth to increase understanding of the complex needs of young people. Grit is a co-developer of The Wakanheza Project, a widely implemented initiative of Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health that has transformed the way communities, agencies, schools, faith communities, local governments, and businesses interact with families, children and young people. Grit has also contributed to the education and training of future maternal and child health professionals through her work as an adjunct instructor and student mentor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

2009

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Statewide:

For more than 4 years, Erin Petersen has served as coordinator of family safety programs for the Minnesota Safety Council. Erin leads Safe Kids Minnesota, a chapter of Safe Kids USA, which is dedicated to prevention unintentional injuries among children. Through Safe Kids Minnesota, she provides support to six local chapters. From 2005 to 2008 she coordinated Minnesota Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety program that provides education about safety at railroad crossings and around tracks. Erin has engaged in strategic planning, program development, educational activities, coalition building and advocacy. She provides safety education directly to parents and children through numerous community events as well as serving as a resource to parents and other caregivers. Erin played a key role in the development of the multi-lingual Web site and the television program “Child Safety Seats,” which was produced in six languages by the ECHO Minnesota Collaborative. These programs received national recognition. Erin provided key support to the Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Coalition that focused on strengthening Minnesota's child passenger safety law by requiring booster seats from ages 4-8. This legislation passed in the 2009 legislative session. Erin was a lead coordinator of the 2009 Minnesota Childhood Injury Summit, which brought together diverse stakeholders in childhood injury for a strategic planning session. The event laid the groundwork for coordinated long-term strategies that will support childhood injury prevention efforts in Minnesota.

Community:

Open Cities Health Center, Inc. is a full service medical, dental and behavioral health clinic that has been serving Twin Cities' residents since 1967. It provides a wide variety of primary and specialty care services. OCHC has a long history of providing comprehensive maternal and children's health to inner city residents of St. Paul. Currently over 50% of OCHC's medical patients are women and children. Services for women and children include prenatal programs and holistic support from a community health worker (CHW)/doula from pregnancy until the child reaches age 5. CHWs are an integral part of OCHC’s services. Their successful use of CHWs assists clients in navigating the health care system, increasing knowledge, bridging the gap between cultures, and reducing health disparities. The CHWs share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status and life experiences with the community members they serve. In addition to prenatal and parenting support, OCHC provides community education at a number of sites throughout the Twin Cities, including African American churches, day care centers, Lao Family Center and numerous Hmong-serving locations. They also provide dental education and dental screening in day care centers, schools and community organizations. OCHC works with many agencies – both governmental and private – to address the needs of maternal child health patients on everything from legal advice to support groups.

2008

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Statewide:

William Portilla, M.D. has provided surgical repair of cleft lip and palate to the children of Northeastern Minnesota for more than 25 years. In addition to his practice at St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic, Portilla serves on a team of providers in the Duluth Facial Dental Clinic. The Duluth Facial Dental Clinics is a team of specialists who evaluate and recommend treatment for children with cleft lip and palate or other similar conditions. Portilla is responsible for the development of a number of innovative techniques for cleft lip and palate repair. He works closely with families from immediately after birth through their teen years to assure that children get the care and support they need. Portilla rallied dentist and other specialists in Northeastern Minnesota to care for children with special needs. He garnered commitment from a number of providers to address the scarcity of specialty services for low income families in greater Minnesota. Portilla’s commitment to children goes beyond Minnesota. In January of 2008 he worked with a nonprofit organization to conduct free cleft lip and palate repair in rural Uganda.

Community:

Beverly Propes received the community award for her dedication to improving the health of children and families in the Twin Cities and for her efforts to reduce health disparities in the African American community. As a public health nurse, Propes worked for more than 30 years to bring together leaders from the Minneapolis community to improve the health of children and families. She worked to reduce the disproportionate rate of infant mortality in the African American community and to increase the understanding of the benefits of early education on a child’s long-term wellbeing.  Propes is involved in multiple local and statewide committees. She is a respected community leader able to assure that the health needs of the African American community are expressed. In all of her work, she stresses the connection between a people’s cultural and their health. Propes continues her advocacy by working to reduce infant mortality through a coalition of African American churches and by working with the Minneapolis schools to increase early education of children on health.

2007

Statewide:

Art Rolnick, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, received the statewide award for his advocacy for young children. Rolnick's research on the public economic benefits of investments in early education led to the development of an initiative that would reach the most at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds. Rolnick made the case that the benefits achieved from participation in quality early childhood development programs far exceed the cost of these programs. His work has marshaled support from economic and business leaders around the state, nation and worldwide. He demonstrated that not only children and families benefit from early education, but the whole society benefits. Rolnick’s research played a significant role in the success of the Family Home Visiting legislation during the 2007 Legislative session.

Community:

Sarah Wovcha, executive director of Children’s Dental Health Services (CDS) received the community award for her dedication to improving the oral health of low income children and pregnant women. Under her direction, CDS has more than tripled the number of children and pregnant women receiving dental care and has initiated several innovative programs. CDS started serving pregnant women due to the important link between a mother’s dental health and the dental health of her fetus. CDS also expanded its mobile dental care efforts to a larger geographic area. CDS doubled its oral health clinics and more than quadrupled oral health outreach and education efforts. CDS also makes innovative use of dental professionals to provide dental care to low income children and pregnant women and expanded the use of teledentistry to reduce barriers to accessing care.

2006

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Statewide:

Candace Lindow-Davies, a parent of a child who is deaf, received the statewide award for her support and advocacy for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. For the past five years, she developed and coordinated services for the Family Support Connection at Lifetrack Resources. She provided information and support to hundreds of parents, children and families learning of their child's hearing loss. Under her leadership, Family Support Connection developed a web site for families, updated and expanded a lending library, provided educational workshops throughout the state, served and partnered with more than 300 Minnesota parents and professionals, and developed an electronic newsletter that goes to more than 600 parents, professionals and schools. Ms. Lindow-Davies played a critical advocacy role on issues for children with hearing loss by testifying before the Legislature, sending out Action Alerts to her listserv and writing letters on hot topics. She provides consultation to other states on how to develop a support program and regional parent guide program for families of children with hearing loss. For several years she has chaired and/or participated in the CDC Early Hearing Detection and Intervention teleconferences and meetings. She has also presented on the Minnesota Family Support Connection program at numerous national conferences and workshops.

Community:

Judy Voss received the community award for her 33-year commitment to public health at Olmsted County Public Health Services. She formed the Olmsted County Coordinated School Health Council that resulted in improved school nutrition services, policies limiting soft drinks in schools, decisions to maintain health and physical education classes, and the hiring of professional health office staff in most school buildings. Ms. Voss was instrumental in passing Minnesota's first countrywide smoke free ordinance, resulting in healthier restaurant environments for families and restaurant workers. She has brought public and private partners together to address emerging public health issues such as violence prevention, eliminating health disparities and obesity prevention. Ms. Voss piloted a peer education program, Teen Life Concerns, manages the STEPS to a Healthier U. S. grant, and is a member of the Olmsted County Children's Mental Health Collaborative.

2005

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Statewide:

Sara Mullett, who recently retired from position of coordinator of student support and health-related services at the Minneapolis Public Schools, received the award for achievements at the statewide level. Ms. Mullett has dedicated her 35-year career to improving the lives of women, children and youth and is known for her ability to bring organizations together to improve the health of women and children.

Community Award:

Judy Mathiowetz, family health supervisor at Brown County Public Health, received the award for achievements at the community level. Ms. Mathiowetz has made significant contributions to the health of mothers and children in her 22-year career as a public health nurse in southwestern Minnesota.

2004

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Statewide:

Dr. Terrie Rose received the statewide award for her contributions to maternal and child health through pioneering training and initiatives aimed at strengthening families and promoting health development and resilience in infants and toddlers.

She played a major role in the development of Baby’s Space: A Place to Grow, an integrated child care and family support program for infants, toddlers and their families. The program has resulted in fewer unplanned pregnancies and a significant increase in children who are at developmental age level after participating in the program. The model program has become nationally visible as an innovative community service program.

As associate director of the Harris Center, Dr. Rose consults with numerous local and state agencies, speaking on topics such as parent-child attachment, infant mental health and the effects of illicit drug and alcohol use during pregnancy and parenting.


Community:

Ms. Lisa Hagen received the community award for her 13-year commitment as a pediatric clinical nurse.  She played a pivotal role in the 1998 Healthy Learners Immunization Initiative in Minneapolis.  She brought key players together to design a campaign to implement the No Shots, No School Project She assisted clinics to improve access by adding extra clinic hours, accepting walk-in appointments, helping families with transportation and having interpreters available. She has also led the development of the MCMC Pediatric Brain Injury Program where she designed the Clinical Critical Pathways plan of care, which has improved service to hundreds of hospitalized children, and designed procedures linking medical teams with school-based programs to facilitate children’s return to health within their normal environments. In addition, she created educational tools to help immigrants understand and access the medical system, and led a group to design a plan to improve care and services for children with asthma.
2003

View the 2003 Betty Hubbard Award Recipients

Statewide:

Kathleen Fernbach, public health nurse and director of the Minnesota Sudden Infant Death Center at Children's Hospitals and Clinics, received the statewide award for her commitment to reducing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Fernbach implemented the Back to Sleep campaign in Minnesota, which has contributed to a greater than 40 percent decline in SIDS deaths in Minnesota from 1994 to present. Fernbach has worked with medical examiners and coroners, public health nurses, pediatricians, family practitioners, hospital staff, paramedics, funeral directors, childcare providers, and families in an effort to educate and support all those touched by SIDS.

Community:

Mary Story received the community award for her 20-plus year commitment to maternal and child health issues, especially child and adolescent nutrition. Dr. Story is an associate dean of Student Affairs at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and is a professor in the School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, and the Medical School, Department of Pediatrics. Story is known to the community as an inspirational teacher and mentor, training health professionals to improve the nutrition of children and youth. She has conducted extensive research on child nutrition and obesity.  Story's work includes collaborative projects on weight management and obesity prevention in children and adolescents, environmental and policy change in schools and communities to promote healthy environments, and the role of families and other social factors in adolescent eating patterns.

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2002

Statewide:

Jane Kretzmann, senior program officer for Bush Foundation, received the statewide award for her advocacy for children, childcare, maternal and child health programs and programs improving the status of refugee populations. Kretzmann was responsible for an infant/toddler caregiver training initiative in Minnesota and the Dakotas. This training was one of the first of its kind in the state. To initiate the training, Kretzmann developed a partnership involving the infant/toddler program for infant/toddler caregivers, Minnesota's childcare administrators and the state's childcare resource and referral network. This partnership has become the organizational base of training throughout Minnesota.

Community:

Mary Fairbanks, chief of the Complex Nursing Unit at the Bemidji Area Office of the Indian Health Service, and former acting health director of Leech Lake Health Division, received the community award. Mary Fairbanks received the community award for her vital role in advancing the health of mothers and children on the Leech Lake Reservation. As Leech Lake Reservation HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Fairbanks coordinated training and education in HIV prevention for the reservation community. She developed HIV policy and case management protocol for HIV patients, initiated HIV testing policy for prenatal women and initiated support groups for persons affected by HIV.

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2001

Statewide:

Susan Olson, P.H.N., Director, Pennington County Public Health, was selected for her commitment to promoting public health services, particularly for mothers and children. She worked with federal policy makers, state legislators, and county commissioners, school boards, and state departments to gain support for maternal and child health services. She secured funding for the innovative Communities Caring for Children designed to encourage prenatal care, child check-ups, and immunizations. She also brought private clinics and public health agencies together to develop a web-based regional immunization registry.

Community:

Denis Zack, D.D.S., M.P.H., Minneapolis, was selected for his dedication to improving dental public health services for mothers and children in Minnesota. Since 1995, Dr. Zack has been an advisor and clinical supervisor in the Dental Assistant Program at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Under his direction, Children's Dental Services, a dental clinic on campus, was built. The clinic has provided dental care for low-income children in the Metro area while serving as a learning experience for students in the dental assistant program. In addition, Dr. Zack developed on the nation's first on-site dental programs at schools and Head Start programs; advanced the use of sealants to prevent tooth decay; and created partnerships with businesses, government, and non-profit agencies to provide quality public health dentistry for teen mothers and young children.

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2000

Awards: (Based on the nominations received, the categories were suspended this year).

Terri Helland, P.H.N., Brown County Public Health, was selected for her commitment to supporting families and promoting the health of infants and children. As a member of the Brown County Child Protection Team, she helps identify child protection and child welfare concerns, and follows-up in complicated and often violent family situations. She has also been instrumental in developing prenatal information packets, a prenatal vitamin program for low-income women in the first trimester of pregnancy, a teen parent education program, and a pregnancy planning/prevention program.

Elizabeth Thom, P.H.N., Child and Teen Check-up Outreach Coordinator, Carlton County Public Health, was selected for her dedication to improving the health of children and teens. As the C&TC Outreach Nurse, she identified the need for dental care among children on Medical Assistance, spearheaded with the University of  Minnesota joint efforts to hold outreach dental clinics, and secured funding and organized the clinics. She is currently guiding a diverse group of physicians, practitioners, technology staff, schools, and public health representatives to develop an electronic immunization registry system to link all providers in Northern Minnesota.

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1999

Statewide:

Robert ten Bensel, M.D., M.P.H., retired from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Department of Pediatrics, was selected for his lifelong advocacy for the health and safety of mothers and children. Specifically noted was Dr. ten Bensel's pioneering advocacy for abused and neglected children through preservice, professional, and community education. He educated thousands of professionals and community members on the signs and symptoms of neglect and abuse, the importance of reporting suspected cases of abuse, and cross-disciplinary prevention strategies.

Community:

Rae Jean Madsen, P.H.N., MCH and Family Planning Coordinator, Carver County Community Health Agency, was selected for her long term commitment to maternal and child health at the community level. In addition to her work with individuals and families, Rae Jean has been an innovator in bringing new MCH prevention programs to Carver County. She has collaborated with school district staff, local clinics, and provider staff and was instrumental in bringing educational prevention programs into schools as well as to the newly-established East Creek Family Center. RaeJean has also been an inspiring role model, supervisor, and mentor for other public health staff.

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1998

Statewide:

LaVohn Josten, PhD, R.N., Nursing educator and researcher at the University of  Minnesota, creator of the Minneapolis Health Department's MCH Department, and a former Director of MDH's Section of Public Health Nursing, was selected for her long term dedication to maternal and child health clinical and program interventions. Specifically noted, was Dr. Jostens work in preventing child abuse and neglect through interventions and development of Minneapolis's first home visiting program using paraprofessionals.

Community:

Anita (Neen) Namock Lillquist, PHN, recently retired from the Beltrami County Nursing Service, was selected for her career-long commitment to improving health care for women and children. Specifically, Ms. Lillquist developed a Communities Caring for Children Outreach program, and established the Mother and Infant Action Team of the Beltrami County Family Service Collaborative.

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1997

Statewide:

Michael Resnick, Ph.D., sociologist and professor of public health, University of Minnesota, Department of Pediatrics, was selected for his research, teaching, and advocacy work in the field of adolescent health and teen pregnancy prevention.

Community:

Barbara Huus, P.H.N., M.S., Co-Director of Nursing, Olmsted County Health Department, was selected for her work on behalf of the mothers and children of Olmsted County; in particular, her work on the Baby Steps maltreatment prevention program, the MATCHS automated data and information program, and on the Preschool Child and Family Health Clinics.

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1996

Statewide:

Lynn Theurer, R.N., M.S., C.S., L.M.F.T., Administrator, Winona County Community Health Services, was selected for her tireless efforts in promoting quality care for mothers and children, in particular, through programs such as what is now known as Minnesota's Prenatal Care initiative, and Winona County's Community Connection Family Services Collaborative.

Community:

Diane Pittman, M.D., a family practitioner with the Indian Health services at the Cass Lake Hospital, was selected for her leadership in the prevention of maternal substance abuse, and for her involvement in professional committees and advocacy organizations focusing on improved health for Minnesota's mothers and children.


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1995

Statewide:

Martha Farrell Erickson, Ph.D., Director of the University of Minnesota Consortium on Children, Youth, and Families, and Coordinator of the STEEP Project, was selected for her commitment to prevention and early intervention, and for her work both directly with families and in the arena of effective policies to promote the well-being of families
and children.

Community:

Ane Rogers, M.S.N., P.H.N., Maternal and Child Health and WIC Coordinator, Cass County Public Health Services, was selected for her long-term commitment to improving MCH services to families, in particular, by bringing the collaborative, integrated services vision from planning to reality.

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1994

Statewide:

Irene Alton, R.D., M.P.H., Director of Nutrition Services, Health Start, Inc., was selected for her long term commitment to improving maternal, infant, child, and adolescent outcomes through nutrition intervention at national, state, and community levels.

Community:

Sharon Cross, R.N., M.P.H., P.N.A., Nursing Director, Metropolitan Visiting Nurses Association, was selected for her tireless advocacy on behalf of mothers and children through collaboration and teaching others about MCH issues and needs and prevention strategies.

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1993*

Statewide:

Sara Heineke, R.D., Olmsted County Public Health Department, WIC and Community Nutrition Program Director, was selected for her dedication and innovative approaches to educating others on the importance of nutrition for healthy growth and development
in children.

Community:

Lois Thompson, R.N., Renville County Public Health Nursing Service, was selected for work in providing innovative, strengths-based, non-judgmental, and caring prenatal services to high risk pregnant women in whatever settings best fit their needs.

* In 1993, the Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force recommended establishment of two awards, one to recognize work with statewide impact, and one to recognize work with community wide impact.

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1992 Charles Oberg, M.D., M.P.H., pediatric staff physician at Hennepin County Medical Center, Medical Director for the Teen-Tot Clinic, and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, was selected for the wide range of multidisciplinary direct service and educational programs and services in which he is involved for the improvement of maternal and child health, in particular with higher risk populations.
1991 Diane Ahrens, Commissioner, Ramsey County, was selected for her insightful and dedicated advocacy for improving the health of mothers and children through her support of school-based and community clinics, AIDS/HIV prevention, and culturally-relevant care through her service on the Ramsey County Board, St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center Board, Childrens Defense Fund of Minnesota Advisory Committee, and Health Start Board, as well as through her work in national organizations.
1990

Geraldine Carter, Ph.D., Director, Survival Skills Institute, was selected for her work in founding the Survival Skills Institute to meet the health and other needs of A high risk minority families in Minneapolis, and for her long term dedication to meeting the needs of community families through her collaborative work with the Minneapolis Schools, Pilot City Health Center, and the Minneapolis Foundation.