Each year, the Anoka County Board recognizes the work of groups or individuals who have made significant contributions to improving public health in our communities.
Congratulations to this year’s award recipients for their leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and efforts in community health improvement.
Youth First Community of Promise for its work to promote better nutrition in young people by encouraging them to make healthier food choices. Working with a University of Minnesota Master Gardener, Youth First planted a garden at their neighborhood center in Ramsey to give students the opportunity to learn firsthand about healthy foods, food skills, gardening, and meal preparation. They also implemented healthy cooking programs in a teaching kitchen at the center and used produce grown in the garden to teach young people how to prepare healthy meals and snacks.
Allina Health EMS Ambulance Redesign Team for heading an effort to develop a new ambulance design that is safer for both patients and employees. The team worked with ambulance manufacturers, health care providers, patients, and safety experts to develop a new ambulance design that replaces the traditional bench seat with a bucket seat equipped with a three-point harness seatbelt that keeps EMS staff safe in the event of a crash. The new design also attaches the patient cot to the frame more securely and reduces cabinetry by storing equipment in soft-sided pouches.
Molly Nhean, a student at Centennial High School, for leading efforts to end dating, domestic, and sexual violence in our schools and community. Molly is passionate about raising awareness about teen dating violence and advocating for survivors. She bravely shared her own story with more than 500 attendees of the Alexandra House’s Walk for Hope, saying, “Don’t let what happened to you in the past define you; you get to define yourself.”
School-Based Mental Health Partnership, a collaboration of Anoka-Hennepin School District, Headway Emotional Services, and People Incorporated, working together to provide quality, school-based mental health services for students. Key to their success is a shared belief that if teachers and administrators are aware of mental health issues, staff can better support students to enhance academic performance, boost attendance, and improve behavior. Thanks to this group’s efforts, Anoka-Hennepin students have greater access to therapy services and therapists because they are readily available onsite in schools. Teachers have a better understanding of mental health needs because of the increased education and support they receive. Overall, there has been a marked reduction in the stigma surrounding mental health services.