Community Health Awards - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Community Health Awards

Nominations open for 2017 Community Health Awards!

ImgNominate someone deserving for a 2017 Community Health Award:

"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.

2016 Community Health Award Recipients

Jim Parker Leadership Award

Laurel Hoff, Director of Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services, received the Jim Parker Leadership Award for her commitment to public health and leadership in improving public health in Minnesota. Laurel has spent 38 years working in the field of public health, including leading two local health agencies in Minnesota. She is a strong advocate and distinguished leader in the field and is highly regarded by her colleagues as a true public health leader, mentor, and friend. Learn more: Jim Parker Leadership Award

Jack Korlath Partnership Award

Karen Swenson, Director of Brown-Nicollet Environmental Health, received the Jack Korlath Partnership Award for her dedication to building and maintaining partnerships in the work she does. Karen has worked for Brown-Nicollet Environmental Health for 29 years. She has worked tirelessly for partnership between state and local environmental health programs through involvement in several committees and other efforts aimed at achieving better partnerships. Karen is well-respected and seen as a resources for state and local public health and environmental health professionals. Learn more: Jack Korlath Partnership Award

Commissioner's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services

LuAnn Reif, Professor, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, received the Commissioner's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services for her dedication to advancing the field of public health and the public health workforce. For over 20 years, LuAnn has instilled her passion for public health in students and professionals both nationally and internationally. She was instrumental in revolutionizing the nursing curriculum at her institution so that students leave with an understanding of the value of public health and how it impacts the community. LuAnn’s peers and students say her spirit for public health is contagious. Learn more: Commissioner's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Health Services

Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities

Nate Sandman, Associate Director of the Human Services Division of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, received the Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities for his work in eliminating commercial tobacco-related health disparities in the American Indian community over several decades. Nate’s thoughtful, strategic, and collaborative approach is the key to his success on the Fond du Lac Reservation. His achievements have led to the development of a culturally appropriate tobacco cessation curriculum and commercial tobacco policies, among other things. Learn more: Lou Fuller Award for Distinguished Service in Eliminating Health Disparities

Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health

Rosemary Schultz, Jackson County Commissioner, received the Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health for her commitment and support of improving the health of citizens of all ages in Cottonwood and Jackson Counties. She has served on numerous local and state committees working on public health issues.  She is known as the “public health hero” of Des Moines Valley Community Health Board and has been active in a number of initiatives, including getting Main Street in Lakefield, MN walkable for all ages. Learn more: Award for Outstanding Dedication to Local Public Health

Certificates of Recognition

Chris J. Johnson, Minnesota Department of Health, received a Certificate of Recognition for her leadership of a local public health driven records management project. Her expertise, project management, and facilitation skills were instrumental in the development of a quality product. She went above and beyond identifying and developing more items that contributed to the best product possible.  

Stearns County Health Protection and Promotion Unit received a Certificate of Recognition for their dedication to maintaining and improving the health of their community. Their passion for their work and compassion for their clients has helped them truly connect with the community and see success in their work.  

Sara Chute, Minnesota Department of Health, received a Certificate of Recognition for her dedication and leadership in countless community organizations and efforts. Her longstanding awareness of health equity issues has driven her to create a variety of programs and strategies in thoughtful, collaborative, and culturally relevant ways.

Learn more: Certificate of Recognition