Meet the 2015 SPH Community Partner Award Recipients

By October 6, 2015

Help us recognize this year’s award recipients at the 12th annual Community Partners Celebration on Thursday, October 22.

Star Award

Nancy Carlson

Nancy is the behavioral health director in the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the Minnesota Department of Health and was nominated by SPH’s Center for Public Health Education and Outreach (CPHEO) for her valuable and tireless efforts in training and prevention. She has been a key partner in the planning, development, and dissemination of disaster behavioral health training for the public health workforce over the past 5 years. Her knowledge of the subject matter, her expertise as a trainer, and her dedication to the field of disaster preparedness have contributed to the professional development of more than 1000 public health professionals and volunteers through her partnership with CPHEO.

Kelly Coleman

Kelly-Colemanfor-webKelly, PhD ’05, is a distinguished scientist and technical fellow at Medtronic plc where he serves as the chief toxicologist. A graduate in toxicology, Kelly was nominated by SPH’s Division of Environmental Health Sciences for his dedicated support to the school in many roles: as a guest lecturer, sharing his expertise in the medical device industry; as a guest panelist, evaluating student presentations; and as a member of student committees, carefully evaluating master’s projects and students during their oral exams. He speaks highly of his own education and experiences with SPH.

Marty LaVenture

Photo-Marty-LaVenturefor-webMarty, MPH ’78, PhD ’04, serves as the director for the for the Office of Health Information Technology at the Minnesota Department of Health. Nominated by the Division of Health Policy and Management, Marty has served a vital role in the development of the Public Health Informatics program, collaborating with faculty and staff at multiple levels. Marty also leads the Minnesota e-Health Initiative, a public–private collaborative that advances EHR adoption and use in Minnesota, is lead author for the chapter on public health informatics in the new 4th edition of the Shortliffe & Cimino’s Textbook of Biomedical Informatics, and is an elected Fellow of the American college of medical informatics.

Carlota Medus

Carlota-Medusfor-webCarlota, MPH ’99, PhD ‘05, is an epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health, and was nominated for her continued support of the school in multiple roles, most notably through serving as supervisor to Team D since 1999. A student who recently completed his field experience with Carlota noted: “I was trained by senior co-workers at the beginning and my supervisors were always available for any consultation.”

Grace Strangis

Grace-Strangisfor-webGrace is the Founder of Pathways to Children and was nominated  for her active efforts in collaborating with the school and her organization to provide hands-on experience for our students and support to families in Calcutta, India. Through Pathways to Children, Grace supports a school and clinic in Calcutta, India that provides food, medical care and training for the children and their mothers and includes a special program for handicapped children. She graciously hosted the School of Public Health Alumni Society’s global alumni service-learning trip in January 2015, and has been active in seeking funding to support field experiences for SPH students who will be hosted in Calcutta. She recognizes the value for our students of first-hand experience in challenging environments and the need and importance of public health in these settings.

Steven Stovitz, MD

stovitz-Aug-2015for-webSteve, MS ’10, is the director of the Lifestyle Medicine Program for Weight Management and Director of Sports Medicine with University of Minnesota Physicians. The Division of Epidemiology and Community Health nominated Steve for his passion for student education and personal growth. He sets a stellar example of interprofessional work, as he included students in public health nutrition during the planning of his program, allowing them exposure to the administrative and logistical aspects of starting a new clinic. Since the clinic started, he continues to work with various public health nutrition students, serving as a preceptor, mentor and example of client-centered treatment. In addition to precepting students at the Lifestyle Medicine Program for Weight Management, he is also a volunteer preceptor at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic.

Antonia Wilcoxon

Wilcoxon-Photofor-webAntonia serves as the director of community relations in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Operations in the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Nominated by the Division of Health Policy and Management for her invaluable partnership within the school, Antonia has worked with many of students in field placements and internships. Being able to partner with her has been crucial in helping students learn what it means to work for, and with, the communities most affected by health disparities. She is a consistent and powerful voice for health equity and serves on the public health administration & policy community advisory board where she advises both the full-time and executive programs on matters related to public health priorities, trends in practice and curriculum needs.

Organization Award

AllinaHealthLogo_forwebAllina Health has long been an outstanding partner with the School of Public Health and exemplifies a health system that has shown a sustained commitment to population health. Allina has worked with many SPH students in field placements, paid research assistant positions, and Master’s projects. Students recognize the value of this work and have only praise for their mentors at Allina. As one student said in their review “I was inspired by the people that I worked with and got a chance to directly involve myself in the work that was being done.“ Another student commented, “Allina recognizes the importance of working upstream on prevention and health promotion versus only providing reactionary care, and the need to partner with community organizations in order to accomplish this work.” The School of Public Health greatly benefits from relationships built with divisions across Allina. Opportunities with Allina have provided valuable experience in a real-world environment to our students.

WellShare_forwebWellShare International is recognized among health systems as an expert in the recruitment and training of community health workers. Their work with refugee and immigrant communities in Minnesota and with underserved rural populations in East Africa address the health needs of individuals across the lifespan, and their community health workers are trained to provide a range of health services, promote healthy lifestyles among youth, and skills for immigrants/refugees to navigate the U.S. health system. WellShare and the School of Public Health have formed strategic partnerships to work on programs addressing human rights and tobacco in Somali communities. The organization’s commitment and desire to reduce health disparities, and provide community members with the knowledge and care they need to take charge of their own health is inspiring.

Agency Award

PEI-logo_forwebThe Early Youth Eyecare (E.Y.E) Community Initiative at Phillips Eye Clinic provides vision screening and care for low-income students in the Twin Cities aimed at removing the roadblock to learning for those with vision problems. The program was launched in Minneapolis Public Schools in 2008 and is expanding to St. Paul Public Schools in 2014. Over the past several years, a number of SPH students have had the opportunity to work with E.Y.E. on field placements but also Master’s projects such as an evaluation, a cost-effectiveness analysis and developing a communications plan. The work environment has been described by our students as “open and friendly,” while also offering “a very unique perspective to the field of public health.” The School of Public Health is grateful that each year our students have the opportunity to work on projects with E.Y.E., allowing them first-hand experience working on very applied projects that contribute to the mission of the agency and advance public health.

Global Partner Award

CIMAS_forwebFor the last three years, Fundación CIMAS del Ecuador has been an important educational global health partner of the School of Public Health. The organization has provided opportunities to SPH Master of Public Health students that have enhanced their training, knowledge and skills in global public health.   Under the outstanding leadership and tireless efforts of José Suárez, MPH ’78, PhD ’84, and Dolores López, CIMAS Foundation staff, instructors, and community partners have supported students by providing continuous mentorship, supervision, guidance, and instruction. Students have engaged in projects, had the opportunity to work in direct public health activities with Ecuadorian communities and have acquired a rich perspective of the social determinants of health in the Global South. These experiences with Fundación CIMAS have tremendously enhanced their education and contributed to their professional development.

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