Community Health Awards - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Minnesota Community Health Awards

The Community Health Awards recognize and acknowledge Minnesotans who make significant contributions to public health in our state. Public health professionals in Minnesota nominate their peers for these annual awards, presented each fall at the Community Health Conference.

Photo of 2017 Community Health Award recipients

2017 Community Health Award Recipients. First row (L to R): Daniel Huff, Cindy Weckwerth, Anne Walaszek, Mageen Caines. Second row: Michaela Read, Leslie Foreman, Cindy Pederson, Mary Heckman, Cynthia Hickman, Susan Morris. Third row: Marna Canterbury, Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger, Ed Ward, Dane Huber. See full album: 2017 Community Health Award Recipients.

2017 Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminiating Health Disparities

Anne Walaszek is Health Programs Manager at the American Indian Cancer Foundation, and guides a team of young American Indian professionals who, with her leadership, continue to expand the capacity of American Indian people to create community-led solutions for change. She continually prioritizes community involvement and champions American Indian-specific health data to address American Indian health disparities.

Learn more about this award and view past recipients: Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminiating Health Disparities

2017 Jim Parker Leadership Award

Cindy Pederson is the director of Wadena County Public Health; she continually innovates to assure low-income families in one of the state’s poorest counties have access to high-quality health care.

Learn more about this award and view past recipients: Jim Parker Leadership Award

2017 Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health

Isanti County Commissioner Susan Morris advocates for the importance of public health and primary prevention through several state and local committees and organizations. She has supported county tobacco ordinances and breastfeeding policies, and often serves as a spokesperson on public health issues at the Minnesota Legislature. Susan has served as the past chair and vice-chair of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Health and Human Services Policy Committee, and as the 2010 chair of the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee. She will serve as AMC president in 2018.

Learn more about this award and view past recipients: Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health

2017 Commissioner’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services

Mary Heckman, Deputy Director for Goodhue County Health and Human Services, was integral in elevating public health as it merged with human services in Goodhue County. Her work in local public health, in addition to service in her community, ensures the health of fellow southeastern Minnesota residents.

Learn more about this award and view past recipients: Commissioner’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services

2017 Jack Korlath Partnership Award

A 24-year veteran of the Minnesota Department of Health, Cynthia Hickman works tirelessly to strengthen collaboration between MDH and local public health. She currently serves as the Metro District Epidemiologist. According to a colleague, Cynthia “is one of the greatest collaborators I know. She is masterful at bringing people together [with] differing viewpoints, and finding a path forward that builds on everyone’s strengths and expertise.”

Learn more about this award and view past recipients: Jack Korlath Partnership Award

2017 Certificates of Recognition

Marna Canterbury is the Director of Community Health for the Lakeview Health Foundation in Stillwater, Minnesota. Her passion and dedication drives her to make a healthy impact in the community through partnership, innovation, and collaboration. Marna leads and guides Super Shelf, a statewide initiative to connect healthy eating to environmental stewardship and sustainability. The National Institute of Health currently funds evaluation of Super Shelf to assess its impact among food shelf users.

The Minneapolis Health Department Food, Lodging, and Pools Division sees the communities it serves as integral partners. One example: The division co-created the nation’s first Somali Certified Food Manager program after learning about a deficit of food manager certification in the Somali community. By partnering with community members, the team acknowledged this community’s assets as experts and businesspeople.

C.A.R.E. Clinic Volunteers help C.A.R.E Clinic, a nonprofit, free clinic in Red Wing, work to improve community health by providing health care access, connecting resources, and promoting health education to uninsured and low-income individuals in Goodhue County. Over 200 volunteers help accomplish this mission!

Learn more about this award and view past recipients: Certificates of Recognition