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Image: 2011 Public Health Award Recipients: Front Row:  Leslie Stephany, representing SWCOC, Jill Jacklitz, representing Community GroundWorks, Lupita Montoto, Diego Campoverde. Back Row:  Lisa Bell, Ed Ruckriegel, Cate Ranheim, Jeff Maurer, Ruben Barahona

PUBLIC HEALTH AWARDS: 2011 recipients

Annual Public Health Awards Presented April 11

Nine individuals and organizations were honored at the 2011 Public Health Awards Ceremony held on Monday, April 11, at 1:30 p.m. at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center, Madison. Public Health Awards recognize those who have made significant contributions and demonstrated exceptional commitment to improving public health.

Nominations for the Public Health Awards were submitted by a variety of people and organizations in the community, and by Public Health staff. The awards were presented by Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Dane County Board Vice-Chair John Hendrick, and Public Health staff.

The 2011 Public Health Award Recipients are:

Image: Luis & Lupita Montoto, Diego Campoverde, Ruben Barahona, La Movida Radio, Voz Latina Newspaper

Advocacy Award: Luis & Lupita Montoto, Diego Campoverde, Ruben Barahona, La Movida Radio, Voz Latina Newspaper

For personal and professional commitment to providing print and radio coverage of public health issues and services for the Latino community.

In a journalistic climate in which certain public health stories are given little attention by the media, Luis and Lupita Montoto and Diego Campoverde have made a commitment to radio and print coverage of public health issues. Luis established La Movida, Madison's first and only full-time Spanish radio station, and is the Program Manager of La Movida, and the Publisher of the Voz Latina newspaper. His wife Lupita, is the Assistant Program Director of La Movida and Editor of Voz Latina. Diego is the production manager for La Movida and reporter for Voz Latina. Ruben is the news editor. All are on-air radio hosts. Besides their professional involvement with the Madison's Latino community, they maintain a strong presence in many Latino community organizations.

La Movida's website states, "our goal is not only to entertain, but to be involved." Indeed, all three have been involved in utilizing their talents to get important public health messages and issues out to the Latino community. They have enhanced public health news releases and provided prominent space in the newspaper for this information, provided generous air time for public health issues on Nuestra Salud, a live call-in program, and have been involved in the development, production and airing of public service announcements (PSAs). Notable public service announcements include the mini soap opera PSA campaign developed to promote breast cancer screening in collaboration with Public Health's Well Woman Program, and a booster seat campaign. They also provided valuable assistance in getting timely H1N1 prevention information out to the Latino population during last year's influenza outbreak.

The work of Luis, Lupita, Diego, and Ruben reflects a personal and professional commitment to the health and well-being of the Latino community.

Image: Community Grounds: Sam Dennis, Mayor Dave, Terrie Anderson, John Hendrick, Jamie Pratt, Martha Worcester, Tom Popp, Marge Pitts, Jill Jacklitz, Dr. Schlenker, Gerianne Holzman

Distinguished Service Award: Community GroundWorks (Formerly Friends of Troy Gardens)

For developing land in a sustainable manner, improving food security, and providing educational programs on gardening, food preparation, nutrition and the environment.

Community GroundWorks is a non-profit organization that connects individuals to urban agriculture and natural lands. Organized on the northside of Madison in 2001 as the Friends of Troy Gardens, Community GroundWorks is dedicated to developing, managing and stewarding Troy Gardens. On 26 acres of urban property, Troy Gardens integrates community gardens, an organic farm, and restored prairie and woodlands.

Through hands-on education, children and adults learn gardening, urban farming, healthy eating and natural areas restoration. The community gardens provide an opportunity for community members to grow their own food, providing food security, as well as a fun environment where diverse people of all ages, cultures and income levels, can work together in a friendly environment and share knowledge and ideas.

The Community GroundWorks Youth Grow Local program provides a forum for children to learn to grow garden vegetables and fruits, and fosters an appreciation of healthy food and outdoor exercise. It also offers a curriculum and training for school teachers and community educators interested in developing or improving garden programs at their schools, community centers and community gardens.

Community GroundWorks improves public health through education of youth and adults, increasing the availability of healthy foods, building social capital, and providing a model of sustainable community-based food production that will serve us well into the future.

Image: Ed Ruckriegel, Madison Fire Marshal

Leadership Award: Ed Ruckriegel, Madison Fire Marshal

For leadership in injury prevention by spearheading the Madison Smoke Alarm Ordinance passage and initiating other injury prevention programs including car seat checks, Safety Saturday, and Safety Town.

Ed Ruckriegel has been the Fire Marshall for the Madison Fire Department (MFD) since 1994, and manages MFD's Fire Prevention Division, which includes Community Education, Fire Inspection, Elevator Inspection and Fire Protection Engineering.

In response to the tragic death of a young man, Peter Talen, in off-campus housing, Ed took a leadership role in getting the 2009 Madison Smoke Alarm Ordinance passed. He identified the problem of smoke alarms not functioning during residential fires, and worked with landlord associations to negotiate support in crafting a new ordinance. By conducting research and building partnerships up front, the ordinance passed without delay in a unanimous vote of the Madison's Common Council. He then took the next steps and educated the community about the ordinance and obtained grant funding for a smoke alarm installation project. All fire department staff were encouraged to help with installations. As a result, to date, more than 5,000 smoke alarms have been installed in 700 homes.

Ed has been at the helm for starting many unique fire prevention programs for people of all ages in Madison. Ed goes beyond just fire prevention, however, and has also taken the lead in initiating a number of collaborative injury prevention programs, including child passenger safety seat checks at fire stations, Safety Saturday, and Safety Town.

Through Ed's leadership and innovative approaches, he is able to build partnerships, implement effective injury prevention programs and make Madison a safer community.

Image: Lisa Bell

Leadership Award: Lisa Bell, RDH, MPH Executive Director, Madison Dental Initiative

For initiating, implementing and volunteering for the Madison Dental Initiative, which provides free dental care at the Salvation Army's Homeless Shelter.

Lisa Bell is the State Public Health Dental Hygienist. Dental health is a huge issue in the State of Wisconsin. Medicaid offers dental benefits, but finding a dentist willing to accept Medicaid is extremely difficult. This access issue is only compounded for those who are homeless. Without an address or reliable contact information, it is virtually impossible to get an appointment with a dentist. In 2008, Lisa began working with two area dentists, Dr. Matt Kutz and Dr. Laura Tills, on a project designed to bring free dental care to individuals at the Salvation Army's homeless shelter. The free clinic opened in May of 2009, and is now a non-profit organization called the Madison Dental Initiative, dedicated to providing dental services to those in need.

Lisa has volunteered her time to see patients at this clinic every Thursday night for almost 2 years. On other evenings and weekends she writes grants to fund the program, and volunteers time to teach and train health professional student volunteers. Without Lisa's dedication to the clinic, it simply would not exist.

The impact and benefit of Lisa's work for the residents of the shelter has been significant, as her influence has been on the medical students. She has been able to be maximally effective with an extremely limited budget, but amazing resourcefulness. The free clinic has provided over $200,000 worth of services to over 300 patients. The value to the patients themselves, many of whom are pain free, is priceless.

Image: Dr. Cate Ranheim

Partnership Award: Cate Ranheim, MD, Meriter Medical Group, Meriter Foundation

For designing and implementing the Helping Educate and Link the Homeless (HEALTH) Program, a health outreach program that reduces barriers for those who are homeless or in transitional housing to receive medical care.

Dr. Cate Ranheim, Hospitalist with Meriter Medical Group, is the passion, energy, and drive behind the Helping Educate and Link the Homeless (HEALTH) outreach program. While working at Meriter Hospital, Dr. Ranheim observed many patients who were homeless or in transitional housing, repeatedly coming to the Emergency Room seeking medical care for untreated illnesses that became acute due to delayed treatment. Dr. Ranheim began to investigate what prohibited these patients from maintaining their health and determined eight barriers to good health: medical illiteracy, limited transportation, lack of insurance or income, inability to afford medications, substance abuse, mental health issues, unstable housing, and failure to access primary care. With this information, she developed the HEALTH program which seeks to eliminate or reduce barriers through providing health outreach programs at shelters, meal sites, and resource centers, and one permanent site at St. Vincent de Paul.

Through HEALTH, patients have access to free care, including basic health screening, disease and medication education, prescription updates, basic health supplies, help with disability, Medicare/Medicaid and housing applications, health counseling, assistance linking to local resources and coordination with local primary care providers to establish a medical home. Dr. Ranheim recruited volunteer physicians, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, dentists, administrative staff, and many others to bring health care to people at accessible sites. She also secured funding for the program through the Meriter Foundation.

The impact of Dr. Ranheim's efforts is significant. Through the program's design, a trust is being established with the homeless population and they are more proactively addressing their health care needs. Preliminary data indicated that use of emergency services and inpatient care at Meriter has decreased among HEALTH program patients. In 2011, Dr Ranheim expects to serve 1,000 patients through this care coordination model.

Image: Mayor Dave, Larry Nelson, Ronnie Thornton, Leslie Stephany, John Hendrick, Dr. Schlenker

Partnership Award: Southwest Community Organizing Committee

For joining together four Southwest Madison neighborhoods to improve health and safety by engaging residents in community organizing and collective action.

The Southwest Community Organizing Committee (SWCOC) is comprised of 14 community leaders living in 4 Southwest Madison neighborhoods. Its goal is to implement the Public Health-Madison and Dane County Violence Prevention Model by building leadership capacity within the neighborhood, creating forums that break down social barriers, and engaging residents in community organizing and collective action. In 2009, the murder of a youth in the Meadowood Neighborhood ignited residents' concerns over an increase in crime; a 64% increase in SW Madison vs. 4.2% for the city overall. Residents were eager to organize around improving the safety of their neighborhoods.

SWCOC consists of a diverse group of leaders from varied backgrounds who volunteer their time and make significant contributions to their neighborhoods. These individuals are hard-working, dedicated and passionate about strengthening their community. As individuals they have helped run neighborhood associations, implement a farmer's market, coordinate community gardens, advocate for increased youth programming, revitalize their neighborhood park, advocate and implement traffic safety improvements, lead community-building events including quarterly Community Suppers, and collaborate with police on safety projects. They are working together to build capacity in all SW neighborhoods.

While the SW neighborhoods still have serious challenges (high levels of poverty, high levels of mobility, and continued issues with crime), the area has undergone very positive changes. Madison Police report a 24% decrease in the number of juvenile complaints in the summer of 2010, and the neighborhood is calmer. Residents are feeling a stronger sense of place and are identifying more strongly with their community. This grassroots approach to addressing issues on a local level, developing leaders from within, and recognizing the assets of all residents, not only improves the area's public health outcomes, but builds the capacity of the City to address troubled neighborhoods.

Southwest Community Organizing Committee Members

  • Carlos Lozano (Meadowood)
  • Chuck Kime (Green Tree)
  • Felicia Koger (Prairie Hills)
  • Iiona Virgin (Prairie Hills)
  • Larry Nelson (Orchard Ridge)
  • Leslie Stephany (Meadowood)
  • Lisa Veldran (Meadowood)
  • Ray McKnight (Meadowood)
  • Matt Phair (Meadowood)
  • Rebecca Schrader (Prairie Hills)
  • Ronnie Thornton (Meadowood)
  • Tamar Pardee (Prairie Hills)
  • Tania Banak (Prairie Hills)
  • Winton Boyd (Orchard Ridge)
Image: Jeff Maurer

PREVENTION Award: Jeff Maurer, General Manager, Fresh Madison Market

For working with and providing resources for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County to change the food environment from deep fat fried foods to lower-fat, grilled healthier foods.

Mr. Maurer has conducted his retail grocery management career in partnership with local after school centers since 2001, supplying youth with fresh produce, mentoring youth, and serving on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Sauk County.

Upon establishing the Fresh Madison Market on the UW-Madison campus in January 2010, he continued his partnership with the Boys & Girls Club. Noticing the amount of deep-fried foods being served to the youth, he met with the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. He offered to have his market donate two high-end commercial grade grills (value approximately $10,000), the same model in use in his commercial catering kitchen, on the condition both Dane County locations remove their deep-fat fryers. After the offer was accepted, he further extended to the Clubs' cooks and kitchen staff hands-on training with his experienced chef to learn ways to process fresh produce and use fruits and vegetables in healthy and appealing ways.

Proactively seeking community partnerships with the goal of helping underserved youth eat healthier food is not in the job description of a typical grocery store manager. The grill donation and fryer removal effectively lowers the fat content of food that all youth are served at the Club, every day into the future.

This change in the Club's environment also will help the youth become accustomed to lower-fat foods, removing deep-fat frying as 'the norm' and most likely lead to healthier choices in the future.