Community Health Awards
"It is inspiring to hear the stories of these creative, dedicated people. There is so much good work taking place in public health, and it's important to take time to celebrate the accomplishments."
--Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger
The annual Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge individuals or groups who make significant contributions to public health in Minnesota.
Recognition of these accomplishments by elected officials and local and state public health staff is a long standing and honorable tradition of the annual Community Health Conference.
Recipients of the awards are nominated by their peers. Nominations are received for review and selection by the SCHSAC Awards and Nominating Workgroup. Awards are presented by the Commissioner of Health at the conference.
2015 Community Health Award Recipients
Jim Parker Leadership Award
Bill Groskreutz, Faribault County Commissioner, 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.
Learn More: Jim Parker Leadership Award
Jack Korlath Partnership Award
Marty LaVenture, Minnesota Department of Health, 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.
Learn More: Jack Korlath Partnership Award
Commissioner's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services
Shannon Bailey, Dakota County Public Health, 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.
Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities
MaoHeu Thao, St. Paul-Ramsey Public Health, 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.
Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health
Bev Bales, Douglas County Commissioner, 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.
Certificates of Recognition
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.
The Wright County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (pictured at right: Council Chair Denny Bobrowske) 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.
Carol Meissner, Horizon Public Health, 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.
Learn More: Certificate of Recognition