2017 Annual Public Health Award Winners

Excellence in the Promotion of Health Equity (CPHA, COSOPHE, PHNAC)

Recipient: Olga Gonzalez

Organization/Agency: LiveWell Colorado

Nominated By: Leslie Levine

Nomination: Olga always approaches her work as a community member first. She is very aware of the barriers faced by people of color and those living in poverty, and she draws on her own professional and personal lived experience in her relationships with communities and approaches to the work that LiveWell does. It is extremely important to her that community voices are integrated into all of our work to reduce barriers to healthy eating and active living. As such, Olga has traveled throughout the state to personally meet with community members in urban and rural settings, as well as to Native American reservations. She is mindful of including both grasstops and grassroots representatives to gain a broader understanding of each community that she visits.

Olga is very values-driven and is always mindful of ensuring that our work is directly tied to our stated mission and vision. She challenges our staff to consider whether or not community needs and voices were considered in our programs, communications, and policy work. Olga also helps us to identify other partners and voices that should be included in our work. She guides us to understand the possible intended and unintended impact of our work on the communities that we serve. Most importantly, Olga encourages a culture of collaboration with community residents and partners and helps to identify opportunities where our staff can be more present in community settings so that we can all benefit from meeting people in their own spaces.

Sabin Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Julie George

Organization/Agency: LiveWell Colorado

Nominated By: Leslie Levine

Nomination: Julie has distinct ability to create trusting, long-lasting relationships with elected officials and municipal staff, which is the basis of the success of LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign. Although Julie hails from urban roots, she easily connects with and brings together leaders from all backgrounds. This was demonstrated at the 2016 Public Health in the Rockies Conference, where she brought the Mayor of Sheridan and the Mayor Pro Tem from Commerce City for a formal dialogue with public health professionals. This Q&A session offered attendees the opportunity to learn how best to communicate and work with elected officials in the realm of policy and systems change.

The fact that HEAL Cities & Towns is an initiative that truly reaches the four corners of the state with strong representation from rural, frontier, suburban, and urban communities is also attributable to Julie’s versatility. Julie’s focus while at CASB was working with rural education leaders, and she knows that sometimes extra effort is required to reach communities that often are overlooked. She has thus made it a priority to travel across the state, giving her a strong understanding of rural Colorado. Julie continues to seek out rural leaders and help them be the voice of the HEAL movement and showcase their expertise. When working with rural communities, Julie doesn’t push an urban/suburban approach. Rather, she learns about the needs and challenges of the community and how LiveWell, as a Denver-based statewide organization, can lift their voice and connect them to resources.

Award for Technical Innovation in Public Health (CPHA)

Recipient: Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center

Nominated By: Alice White

Nomination: The Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center (RM-PHTC) is leading the way in the development of peer learning opportunities for the public health workforce.  Using bi-directional video technology, the RM-PHTC connects people across Colorado, in tribal communities, and neighboring states in real time to learn from each other without leaving their communities.  The RM-PHTC increases access while also reducing financial and personnel cost. Connecting professionals to experts and to each other is critical for reducing professional isolation and for maintaining a highly trained public health workforce.

Since January 2015, the RM-PHTC has trained 12,905 professionals from 49 counties across Colorado. on topics such as: Advocacy, Cancer Control, Behavioral Health Integration, Evidence-Based Public Health, Community Organizing, Health Equity, Grants Management, Foodborne Illness Outbreak Investigation & Response, QI & Accreditation, Storytelling and Strategic Planning.

In the words of Colorado’s public health community:

“The RM-PHTC is the primary workforce development resource for public health in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region. We rely on them to train our staff as well as the public health workforce across Colorado.”

“The training center helps me stay current in my field. It is an affordable way to access training and keep learning so I can be sure that I’m evolving as a public health professional.”

Roy Cleere Distinguished Service Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Stacy Weinberg

Org/Agency: TCHD

Nominated By: Laurie Schneider

Nomination: After finishing a Master’s degree in Health Communications from Stanford, this nominee made a road trip back to the East Coast. We are all fortunate that her route took her through Colorado where she decided to make her home, raise her daughters and commit her career to social justice and improving health.

Stacy Weinberg serves as the Director of Epidemiology, Planning and Communication at TCHD.  She has played a key role in shepherding many large public health innovations over the past two decades. She oversaw the implementation of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant which revolutionized the way public health work is approached at TCHD. She served on the statewide Public Health Improvement Steering Committee which instituted the Public Health Improvement Act. Her team provides leadership for the Regional SIM grant, the Regional Infrastructure and Health Equity Work Groups. Stacy created a team which has led TCHD through Public Health Accreditation and develops and implements innovations in Informatics, Performance Management and QI, Community Health Assessment and the Public Health Improvement Plan. Stacy has collaborated on the Regional Sugar Sweetened Beverage Campaign and the Make it OK Mental Health Campaign. Stacy is a bold and innovative leader and does not shy away from the challenges presented by the ever changing landscape of public health practice.  

Stacy, we are grateful that the road led you here.  You have paved the way for innovative public health work in the state and continue to inspire others with your positive spirit, determination, and hope.

Public Health CHAMP Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Brendan Doyle

Org/Agency: Denver Environmental Health

Nominated By: BOTH Donna Hite and Steven Chevalier

Nomination: Tri-County Health Department’s (TCHD) Industrial Hygienist retired in April 2017 and she was the only person certified to conduct home visits for children with elevated blood lead levels (EBLL).  TCHD was concerned about a number of children in our jurisdiction with high BLLs needing a home visit to identify the source of lead poisoning.  We reached out to Mr. Brendan Doyle from the City and County of Denver Public Health Inspections Division, Department of Environmental Health and asked if he could possibly find the time to conduct some home visits helping us to identify the source of lead poisoning so we could work with the families to mitigate the problem.  Despite Mr. Doyle’s busy workload, and the fact that TCHD could not offer any reciprocal programmatic financial compensation for his time and efforts, he readily agreed. Mr. Doyle has offered to assist TCHD with 5 (and plans to do more) home visits, conducting interviews with the families, measuring potential sources for lead with the x-ray fluorescence device, conducting swab tests, and also collecting samples for laboratory analysis.  This shows a strong public health commitment on his part to protecting and serving children and families even outside of his jurisdiction.  Brendan Doyle is true public health servant. TCHD is proud to have him as a partner in our community and would like to recognize him for his efforts.

Brendan is an Environmental Health Analyst with the City and County of Denver and manages the City’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and is an Environmental Protection Agency-certified Lead Risk Assessor. Prior to his work at the City and County of Denver, he managed a Housing and Urban Development Lead Hazard Control grant through a local community-based organization. Brendan is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and has spent several years in Paraguay and Peru working to address environmental health challenges at local levels. He received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Environmental Management from the University of Colorado.

Award for Excellence in Policy (CPHA)

Recipient: Rachel Arndt, Jeff Zayach, Susan Motika, Summer Laws, Tessa Hale, and Amelia Hulbert

Org/Agency: Boulder County Public Health

Nominated By: Jennifer Moreland

Nomination: Boulder County Public Health’s (BCPH) significant policy achievements of the second voter approved sugary drink tax in the US and the nation’s first non-acceptance of sugary drink funds is speaks loudly to their steadfast focus on advancing health equity. During the campaign they creatively problem solved to shift staff responsibilities and funding streams to ensure staff was legally allowed to work on the tax initiative. Post-passage they continued their support to retailers, the public, and ensured academic evaluation of the tax outcomes on health. Boulder is modeling effective policy strategy implementation to respond to their Public Health Improvement Plan goals of reducing childhood obesity. Their commitment to health equity, passion to serve, use of data to drive policy action and implementation of evidence-based strategies is a road map for all health agencies to follow. The entire agency is worthy of this effort, and I would like to specifically acknowledge the work of Jeff Zayach, Susan Motika, Summer Laws, Rachel Arndt, Tessa Hale, and Amelia Hulbert.  

The CDC released Public Health 3.0: with the perspective that “increasingly, our job in PH is influencing without authority, working with organizations that we don’t control or fund, to align what they do with the health of the public.” BCPH under Jeff’s leadership with support from the individuals mentioned exemplified this in passing the SSB Tax.

Emerging Leader in Public Health Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Gwendolyn West

Org/Agency: Equitas

Nominated By: Kim Boyd

Nomination: Gwendolyn is definitely one to watch in our public health community!  Her contributions to the public health community through her service on the CPHA Board as the Communications Director have been nothing short of astounding.  Our Colorado public health community has benefited greatly from her gifts in communications and marketing.  As a result of her talents, CPHA members have been more informed this year on issues, opportunities, and the work of fellow public health professionals in Colorado.  As the Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council of APHA, I have relied heavily on Gwendolyn as we have been more responsive to the rapidly changing national events and policy changes.  Gwendolyn has spent late nights, early mornings, and weekends helping me and the rest of the Executive Board craft messages to send to the CPHA members regarding issues such as engagement for advocacy in opposition of the Affordable Care Act and preservation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and official public statements in response to changing immigration policy, racism and violence.   Finally, Gwendolyn’s work as a Program Manager at Equitas Foundation is meeting a unique need in our Colorado public health community as she strives to untangle the messy intersection of health, mental health and the criminal justice system to better serve the most vulnerable among us.  Gwendolyn is a tremendous asset to the Colorado public health community.  If you don’t know her, you should!

Lifetime Achievement Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Dr. Richard Vogt

Org/Agency: TCHD, Retired

Nominated By: Patty Boyd

Nomination: I first met Dr. Vogt in 2010 when he was Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department.  Although Dr. Vogt retired from Tri-County Health Department in 2013, he is not totally “retired” from public health. As with many successful retirees, he continues to share his expertise nationally and internationally as a short-term consultant for CDC.

Dr. Vogt trained in family practice at the University of Colorado and then as an epidemiologist. And as any good “bug Sherlock Holmes” – he discovered that Campylobacter disease could be transmitted via contaminated water and that Legionnaire’s Disease could be contracted from contaminated whirlpool spas.

His participation in the polio eradication effort in Egypt got him introduced to the Saudi Arabia Epidemiology Director by a support staff person announcing his arrival as “the one who spoke Egyptian” for two years.  Everybody in the room cracked up and only later did he learn about the joke.  Dialects even occur in Arabic countries.

He has held multiple leadership roles with national organizations and currently serves on the NACCHO Infectious Disease Prevention and Control workgroup and is a Board Trustee for the Foundation for the Public’s Health.

Thank you Dr. Vogt you have invested a lifetime in public health!

John Muth Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Adam Anderson

Org/Agency: Tri-County Health Department

Nominated By: Meghan Prentiss, Alyson Shupe, and the CPHA Board

Nomination: Adam has made significant contributions while juggling a variety of projects all at once, like increasing the visibility of CPHA’s activities through the newsletter, Outside Events, collaborative events like the webinar and PHiR planning, all while maintaining a network of partners that extends into CPHA’s work.

In his contribution on the board in Membership, Communications and conference committees, we can see he has a bold and broad scope of the roles CPHA and his membership role play in the non-profit and public health landscapes.  This has worked with the communications director to totally re-envision CPHA communications, from the newsletter and other email, to fliers, brochures, and forms, in a way that will be effective and has demonstrated increased engagement, buzz, and buy-in from members and prospective members. Specifically, Adam should be commended for both his ability to think about how to create a Colorado Public Health community with the association as a hub by expanding the way we share stories and updates on agencies, programs, and people in the state. By sharing his design sensibilities with CPHA, Adam has also raised the bar by bringing in his artistic prowess and design technique to our correspondence.

Overall, Adam has been enthusiastic, supportive, and has undoubtedly made a significant contribution to CPHA and the public health community.

General Recognition Award (CPHA)

Recipient: Lisa Raville

Org/Agency: Harm Reduction Action Center

Nominated By: Whit Oyler

Nomination: Lisa is the rare person that effectively incorporates a burning passion for public health with an evidence based approach. Lisa also has a remarkable ability to build bridges with unlikely partners. She has worked with law enforcement to ensure police and sheriff deputies in in counties across the state know what naloxone is, how to use it, and carry it. She is a public health hero in Colorado.

New Public Health Nurse of the Year (PHNAC)

Recipient: Kate Follett

Org/Agency: Jefferson County Public Health

Nominated By: Melissa Palay

Nomination: This nurse joined Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) over two years ago as a nurse home visitor with the Human Service’s Collaboration Program. She partners with clients on their identified priorities such as child development and housing. On top of her role as a nurse home visitor, she also assumes leadership responsibilities throughout our community:  she is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and represents JCPH as the committee co-chair for the Child Youth Leadership Committee. She identified the need for a dedicated public health nurse position for Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court (a court specifically designed for parents involved with Human Services due to substance use). She took initiative to write up a grant proposal for the position, garnering the support across Public Health, Courts, and Human Services. In addition, this led to an enhanced partnership works with families involved with Jefferson County’s FIT Court.

Award of Excellence (PHNAC)

Recipient: Cathy White

Org/Agency: CDPHE

Nominated By: Carol McDonald

Nomination: The winner of this award is an experienced public health nurse and consultant at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She has remained steadfast in her dedication to public health issues and professional nursing.  She is creative, knowledgeable, and a person one can always rely on to get the work done.  For several years, she has been involved with and led outstanding projects that have benefited not only public health nurses but other professionals and communities in Colorado.  She has a knack for networking and knowing who to contact for resources.  Her nominator has this to say about her: “I cannot thank her enough for her dedication and efforts put toward the PH 101 online training project.  This endeavor would not be possible without her enthusiasm and determination to get the job done. She is humble and has quietly performed her job without much recognition.”

Exemplary Frontier Public Health Nurse award (PHNAC)

Recipient: Lauri Wood

Org/Agency: Montezuma County Public Health

Nominated By: Bobbi Lock

Nomination: This nurse began her employment with Montezuma County Public Health Department in 2012 and has contributed to the health of our community ever since. She exemplifies Public Health Nursing every day with her professionalism and dedication to her community, her clients and her peers. She takes full responsibility of operating the immunization clinics with precision and accuracy. She also works with two brand new nursing graduates and mentor them into becoming excellent Immunization/Public Health Nurses. Her expertise, guidance and knowledge base is easily shared with her peers. New graduates in particular have been extremely appreciative of these qualities. While she is firm in her beliefs about the benefits of immunizations, she possesses an incredible skill in being able to alleviate concerns parents may have through showing them all the facts in a non-threatening manner. She is always willing to help others in the department no matter what the task may be. She takes the time to get to know others, know their likes and dislikes and always takes the time to visit and lend a listening ear no matter how busy the day may be for her. She has a wonderful understanding and appreciation of the rural community in which we live. She is the epitome of what Public Health Nursing represents in every aspect of our rural community.

Most Innovative Project Award (PHNAC)

Recipient: Cathy White and Carol McDonald

Org/Agency: CDPHE and Denver Public Health

Nominated By: Carol McDonald

Nomination: The winners of this award has dedicated the last three years on developing a public health online training course. They reviewed other similar education programs such as the Public Health Nurse Academy in Alaska and the online University of Albany New York training as well as programs that were being developed in Colorado.  After lots of discussion with schools of nursing and public health nurses throughout the state, it was determined that an online training specific to the needs of Colorado public health professionals needed to be built.  In collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, public health 101 in Colorado has come to fruition and the first modules will be released this year.  These micro-learning, just in time training materials will be available to anyone who desires to gain competency in their professional skills and have more information about public health programs and activities in Colorado.

Lillian Wald Award (PHNAC)

Recipient: Jeanne North

Org/Agency: Tri-County Health Department

Nominated By: Penny Grande

Nomination: This person is caring in relationships with colleagues and clients, and initiates, implements and evaluates public health interventions that focus on health promotion and disease prevention, and shares public health knowledge with colleagues and the community. The winner of this award is a quiet yet very influential leader for public health nurses.  She has led the Nursing Division at the largest health department in Colorado for almost 14 years.  She began her public health nursing career providing home visit to families in need in WY then started working at Tri-County Health Department, where she has provided exceptional nursing care for almost 30 years. She is unwavering in her support for Public Health Nursing.  She strongly supports nursing education, fair compensation, and recognition in her public health nurse leadership practice.  She works hard to provide a supportive environment to almost 100 public health nurses she leads at Tri County Health Department.  Because of her support, leadership and commitment to public health nursing, her team of nurses are often recognized for their innovation and excellence across the state. Her constant support of nursing practice allows her nurses to shine and work toward their fullest potential.  She is a true servant and leader!

Special Recognition (PHNAC)

Recipient: Christine Mousavi and Brittany Welence

Org/Agency: Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center

Nominated By: Carol McDonald

Nomination: PHNAC would like to give special recognition for their dedication and expertise in the development of the online Colorado Public Health 101 training.  Without their efforts, this project would not be possible.

Carl Blank Award (WPHA)

Recipient: Melanie Pierce

Org/Agency: Wyoming Department of Health

Nominated By:

Nomination: Melanie has been a staff nurse, County Nurse Manager and Regional Supervisor in her career with the Wyoming Department of Health. Last year, she worked tirelessly to complete her Doctorate in Nursing.  She is kind and passionate in all things that she does. Melanie has a clear vision for Public Health in Wyoming. She motivates and inspires her staff to engage in that vision.  Among many other contributions, Melanie initiated and created the Public Health Nursing Section of the Wyoming Public Health Association the first such section in WPHA’s history. It is because of her efforts that Public Health Nursing can represent WPHA in this capacity. She was diligent in bringing our section together and strives to make regular contributions.  Her overall passion and work ethic make her an outstanding example of a true Nursing Leader.

Outstanding Public Health Advocate Award (WPHA)

Recipient: Lindsay Huse

Org/Agency: Wyoming Department of Health

Nominated By:

Nomination: Since Lindsay has joined the Wyoming Department of Health she has effected real change and provided true leadership in Public Health.  Lindsay has been an advocate for Public Health by providing leadership, creative thinking and advocacy to the “boots on the ground staff” as the Public Health Nursing State Nursing Supervisor.  Lindsay places the well-being of the citizens of Wyoming as a priority in her decision making. She recently advocated for public health nursing to offer family planning services, when other entities closed their doors, leaving a gap in services.  Lindsay is enthusiastic, tenacious and well respected by the nurses who work with her, and Wyoming is fortunate to have her she is a gift.

Memorial Student Scholarship for Outstanding Student in Public Health (WPHA)

Recipient: Molly Adami

Org/Agency: Student, University of Wyoming

Nominated By:

Nomination: Molly is currently enrolled in the BRAND Program at the University of Wyoming to receive an accelerated Bachelor of Nursing degree.  She currently works as a field epidemiologist for the Communicable Disease Prevention Program at the Wyoming Department of Health. During her tenure, she implemented the extragenital screening program for STDs and the condom mailer program. Both of these programs are still used today and have improved public health in Wyoming. In her duties as a disease intervention specialist, she often counsels injection drug users on how to more safely inject and reduce the risk of disease. There is no doubt Molly will become a great nurse practitioner and will continue to advocate for public health.  She will be a true champion for those in Wyoming who experience any barriers to optimal health.

Excellence in Public Health Practice by an Individual (ColoradoSPH)

Recipient: Kim Boyd

Org/Agency: Colorado Public Health Association & Lolina, Inc.

Nominated By: Rachel Wolfe & Tonya Ewers

Award Presentation: Kimberly Boyd is recognized not only for her work as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, but also as a volunteer coach for the Regional Institute of Health and Environmental Leadership, and for her leadership in developing and launching the Colorado Public Health Mentoring Program. This program is a collaboration of the Colorado Public Health Association, Colorado Environmental Health Association, Public Health Nurses Association of Colorado, and the Colorado School of Public Health and we (ColoradoSPH) are so grateful our students have had the opportunity to participate and match with additional mentors working in public health in the Rocky Mountain region. A 2017 mentee told us: “Kim has provided me with invaluable skills and advice. She offers an amazing level of expertise and knowledge, and brings enthusiasm and passion to her pursuit of public health knowledge and experiences. For this reason, she made days such as the CPHAMP Kick-Off session and National Public Health Week events really fun, engaging, and inspiring to attend.” Last, we have to also recognize and thank Kim for her efforts to bring various events and student leaders together with the public health community during last year’s National Public Health Week including a new addition at our CU Anschutz campus –the NPHW Public Health Advocacy Talks.

Community Preceptor Award for Excellence in Public Health Practice (ColoradoSPH)

Recipient: Dr. Oumar Ouattara

Org/Agency: Colorado Immigrant Resources Center

Nominated By: Tsion Shiferaw, Pakwadee Charoen-Ngam & Olivia Jolly

Award Presentation: Oumar Ouattara is a 2009 graduate of the Colorado School of Public Health’s Master of Public Health program. As an alum, he has been a dedicated preceptor for several MPH students over the past seven years and this last summer, he hosted not one student practicum experience, but two. One student told us: “My experience with Dr. Oumar was great. I was able to get hands-on experience with questionnaire development, focus group facilitation, and a community needs assessment report. Dr. Oumar was able to effectively divide the tasks between me and another intern so that we were equally involved in the project. On my end, my CIRC experience was an amazing one. Dr. Oumar is a great preceptor and mentor.” Another student said of Dr. Ouattara, “He has given me valuable guidance and support not only on the project but also on my career path. He is a role model as a public health professional.”