News release: Awards presented for contributions to maternal and child health

News Release
December 5, 2011
Contact information

Awards presented for contributions to maternal and child health

Awards presented to Danielle Le Bon Gort and Brigid Riley

The annual Betty Hubbard Maternal and Child Health Leadership Awards were presented today to Danielle Le Bon Gort of Superior, Wis., and Brigid Riley of Minneapolis.

The awards, which recognize leadership and achievements in promoting good health for mothers, children and adolescents, were presented at a Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force meeting in St. Paul.

"This year's award recipients have made exceptional contributions to the health of Minnesota's mothers, children and adolescents," Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger said. "The dedication of the recipients has contributed greatly to Minnesota's reputation as a national leader in the advancement of maternal and child health."

The awards are presented in two categories. Le Bon Gort was recognized for achievements at the community level and Riley was recognized for accomplishments of statewide significance.

Le Bon Gort, the Maternal and Child Health Team Leader for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, received the community award for her work in maternal and child health within the Fond du Lac community and Minnesota's northeast region. 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. She has also created a breastfeeding support program on the reservation.

Through Le Bon Gort's advocacy, she was able to bring the Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) model to the Fond du Lac community. NFP is a nurse-led, evidenced-based maternal and early childhood health program that uses home visiting to foster long-term success for first-time mothers and their babies. 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.

Brigid Riley served for seven years as executive director of Teenwise Minnesota, formerly called the Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting. Teenwise Minnesota provides leadership in promoting adolescent sexual health, preventing adolescent pregnancy and gaining support for adolescent parents by developing, strengthening and advancing science-based policies and programs.

Riley was instrumental in rebranding the organization as Teenwise to shift the organization's identity away from being focused on problems. The organization's new, positive identity also respects young people's intelligence and ability to be involved in their own sexual health.

As a longtime advocate for the reproductive rights and responsibilities of Minnesota's young people, Riley 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 has become the Minnesota training replication partner for implementation of Wyman's Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®). TOP® is a nationally replicated, evidence-based best practice program used by schools, communities and other youth practitioners to empower teens to lead successful lives and build strong communities.

Riley has effectively taken on the task of finding 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 at the state capitol, with county boards of commissioners and local boards of education and through the media for the protection of Minnesota's Minors Consent Law and effective sexuality education.

Riley 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 as a means of keeping these young people from slipping through the cracks during this critical time in their lives.

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:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications

DeeAnn Finley
MDH Maternal and Child Health Section