News release: Grit Youngquist, St. Paul, receives maternal and child health award

News Release
December 10, 2010
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Grit Youngquist, St. Paul, receives maternal and child health award

The 21st annual Betty Hubbard Maternal and Child Health Leadership Award was presented today to Grit Youngquist of St. Paul. The award, which recognizes leadership and achievements in promoting good health for mothers, children and youth, was presented at a Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force meeting in St. Paul.

In acknowledging the award, Minnesota Department of Health Community and Family Health Division Director Maggie Diebel said, "This year's award recipient has made exceptional contributions to the health and well being of youth in Minnesota. Grit's dedication has contributed greatly to Minnesota's reputation as a national leader in the advancement of maternal, child and adolescent health."

For more than 21 years, Youngquist has served as the adolescent health and healthy youth development coordinator for Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health. Youngquist is widely regarded as a teen pregnancy prevention and healthy youth development expert in Minnesota. In addition to working in county government, Youngquist is actively involved in advocacy at the community and statewide levels. She volunteers with many youth-focused organizations and has served on the boards of directors for a youth pregnancy prevention organization and a community clinic.

Youngquist is involved in increasing the understanding of the connection between sexual violence and teen pregnancy, and has directed the development of action teams to address the impact of sexual violence on youth and its prevention. Youngquist 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.

Youngquist is also the 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. Wakanheza (which means "child" or "sacred being" in Dakota) helps agencies create more welcoming environments for children, young people and families, and encourages "peaceful parenting."

Youngquist 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.

The Betty Hubbard Awards have been presented annually since 1990. They are sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health and the state Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force in honor of Betty Hubbard, one of the original members of the MCH Advisory Task Force and a lifelong advocate for the health of mothers and children. Nominations for the Betty Hubbard Awards are solicited each year by the Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force.

More information can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website at


For more information, contact:

Buddy Ferguson
MDH Communications

DeeAnn Finley
Maternal and Child Health Section