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County bestows annual health awards

High school group named 'emerging public health leaders' for educational talks

Washington County Department of Health and Human Services presented four awards last week at the 14th annual Public Health Recognition Awards ceremony.

A group of eight Century High School students won the Emerging Public Health Leader Award, which recognizes a youth or youth-related group that promotes healthy communities and making healthy lifestyle choices. The Century High School Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC) for researched self-harm and suicide and presented information to students, staff, elected officials and school board members via a series of “SHAC Talks” presented throughout the school year.

Other honorees include:

- Rachel Parker of the Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club for her tireless dedication and commitment to improving the lives and health outcomes for all Washington County youth. Parker was awarded the Public Health Ambassador Award, which recognizes an individual in the community who has raised awareness of public health issues, developed projects with a lasting impact, and/or influenced systems or policy changes.

- Fran Jensen and Nancy Winston with Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ were awarded the Partner in Public Health Award, which recognizes an organization or business that has developed innovative public health programs that positively affect its employees or the community at large. The women and UCC partners to provide nutritional and emotional support to homeless youth.

- Cynthia Valdivia was awarded the Washington County Employee Award, which recognizes an exemplary Washington County staff member who has gone above and beyond his or her regular work responsibilities to make a difference in public health. Valdivia is a Bilingual Program Educator and earned the award for her “unwavering passion to help Washington County employees and residents be prepared for an emergency.”