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Congratulations to the Colorado Public Health Association's 2021 Award Winners!

Award for Excellence in Policy: 

Established in 1988 by CPHA, this award is presented annually to a person or organization for highly visible past or present efforts within local, state or national efforts in support of public health issues.

Recipients:  Dr. Bill Burman & Dr. Steven Federico

In the opening days, then weeks, then months of the Covid 19 Pandemic, Drs. Burman and Federico stepped up to assist our public schools with policy analysis, policy making, policy advocacy and policy communication. As the experts analyzing the ever-changing science, Bill and Steve exemplified subtlety and persistence, pragmatism and grace, and always remarkable discernment about the best right next step toward an unwavering end goal: the best thing for all children. This is the kind of behind the scenes work in public health that the public rarely knows about, and I nominate them for this award in recognition of their commitment and contribution to the well-being of children through the development of sound policy in a time of devastating impacts throughout the community.

When I think about excellence in policy supporting a public health policy issue, I think about the work done by Dr. Bill Burman and Dr. Steve Federico to support everything COVID in Denver Public Schools for the last 18 months. Most importantly they held everything discussed up to an equity lens to ensure equity in COVID health care. Early on as the pandemic unfolded there were many discussions weekly around COVID ‚Äì what this was going to mean for students and teachers which then morphed into how to get students back in school at the beginning of the year 20-21 school year. There were a lot of discussion around how to cohort children, how and who to test and quarantine -a lot of these discussions were explanations and interpretation of policy brought down by the Centers of Disease Control and other agencies and allowed DPS leadership the capacity to ask every and any question they had for safe return to school. I think they were instrumental in getting the youngest and children with special needs back in school quickly and then the opportunity for all children to return in the second semester. But their advocacy and support did not stop there, they helped get DPS teachers vaccinated against COVID by having events just for them at Denver Health and they had the vision to create COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics for students and their families at the DPS School Based Health Centers. All told, over 6000 vaccines were given! They did countless zoom events for principals, staff and parents around all these issues, always happy to lend a hand, provide medical expertise and position Denver Health and Denver Public Health as trusted medical providers and advisors. As the next school year begins, they will continue their advocacy with masking, vaccination of younger children and beyond. True heroes they have been and will continue to be! 

Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Health Equity:

Presented by the Colorado Public Health Association, the Colorado Society of Public Health Education and the Public Health 

Recipient:  Rosa Saucedo

When the pandemic started, Pitkin County residents, workers, and visitors whose primary language is Spanish couldn’t access critical life saving information we were desperately trying to get out to our community. However, thanks to Rosa contributing her bilingual and bicultural expertise as well as her strong leadership skills, we’ve transformed our communications and community outreach. In addition to ensuring our call center, website, and resource guides were all accessible in Spanish, Rosa quickly moved into a community advocate role, advising our teams on strategies for improving our outreach and engagement efforts. Rosa advocates strongly for equity and has persistently elevated the voices of marginalized communities, who she cares about so deeply, but has done this in a way that creates grace and space for others to learn and grow alongside her, which has allowed for the transformation within our teams to occur. Strategies are now considered more critically, with stakeholders having an active role in planning and implementation, to ensure effective applications that are meaningful to and aligned with the needs and desires of our diverse communities. One example is how Rosa connected with faith-based community leaders to bless vaccines, if desired by those receiving them. Rosa is an invaluable team member and exemplifies true community leadership.

Award for Technical Innovation in Public Health:

This award was established in1972 in recognition of P.W. Jacoe, a Colorado Board of Health member in the 1950s, for his devotion to duty, his excellence of work and accomplishments, his interest, his leadership and contributions to the physical science field of public health. The award is to be given to a person who has made an outstanding technical innovation in public health.

Recipient:  Stephen Goodwin

Mr. Goodwin has transformed local county data during COVID-19 response to include publicly transparent, safe, accurate and visually interactive and appealing indicators to better inform our community of disease trends. He has led the Office of Data and Analytics and has designed and published dashboards to better measure the disease spread and individual risk of COVID-19. The COVID-19 case and vaccine dashboards have been widely used locally by elected officials, media and the community at large. The dedication to constantly improve and better present complex data has put El Paso County Public Health on the map of innovative and modern data analytics and presentation. Putting the principles of Public Health 3.0 at the forefront, Mr. Goodwin has established a 2-way data sharing relationship with local hospital systems, state systems, military and federal partners and local organizations. Mr. Goodwin has continuously strived to reduce as many barriers as possible to access and interact with local data. He has yet to take a single day off since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. His constant dedication, energy and passion for public health is an inspiration to his team and the agency at large.

Emerging Leader in Public Health: 

This award is given to an individual early in their career serving in a public health capacity who has demonstrated outstanding initiative on behalf of the Colorado public health community.


Recipient:  Kayla Frawley

Kayla is a former Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), has supported approximately 300 births, was a Midwifery Educator for two MEAC accredited institutions. She is the Policy Manager with Clayton Early Learning. She is a 2021 graduate of EMERGE Colorado and former community engagement chair with the Denver Women‚’s Commission. She manages the Parent Ambassador Program with Clayton ‚Äî highlighting parent leadership and voice in state and federal policy. She is a co-author of Diverse Colorado Voices: Community led-solutions in the perinatal period, and co-convenes the Raise Colorado Coalition - a policy & advocacy coalition devoted to equitable state policy for the prenatal to age 3 time period. She has worked with families from the prenatal to preschool age for 12+ years in various capacities, completed her BA in Medical Anthropology, and is a current MPH student. She was on the leadership team for the Birth Equity Bill Package this legislation session in CO.

Kayla led a listening session tour in Fall 2020 with Birth Equity leaders in the state of Colorado. She gathered data, compensated community members, created a project that equipped birth equity leaders with the support they needed to rally their community to provide input on the biggest issues and solutions to infant and maternal health in Colorado. She then co-authored a report called 'Diverse Colorado Voices: Community led solutions for the perinatal period' which was literature that served as an advocacy tool to pass the historic and bold Birth Equity Bill Package. She authentically engages the community, and brings their solutions to capitol, while partnering with queer and or BIPOC serving organizations to get legislation passed. She is beyond deserving of this award - as a single mom and MPH student living and serving in Colorado.

Kayla is an over-achieving enthusiastic anti-racist who focuses on community driven solutions and uplifting community voice in public health initiatives at the state capitol. She led a listening session tour in Fall 2020 with Birth Equity leaders in the state of Colorado, and published Colorado's most up to date qualitative data on what it means to give birth in Colorado from the consumer perspective. In this data collection she created a project that equipped birth equity leaders with the support they needed to rally their community to provide input on the biggest issues and solutions to infant and maternal health in Colorado. She co- authored a report called 'Diverse Colorado Voices: Community led solutions for the perinatal period' which served as one of the biggest advocacy tools in the success of the passing of the Birth Equity Bill Package (SB101, Sb193, SB194). Her along with many other leaders passed the historic and bold Birth Equity Bill Package. She authentically engages the community, and brings their solutions to capitol, while partnering with queer and or BIPOC serving organizations to get legislation passed. She is paving the way for how people should utilize their power and privilege to address health equity in infant and maternal health. This award should go to her She is a single mom and MPH student living and serving in Colorado. 

Exemplary Frontier Public Health Nurse Award:

Recognized a Public Health Nurse who has demonstrated exemplary service in a local public health agency located in a Colorado rural/frontier community.

Recipient:  Joni Reynolds

In early March 2020, Joni was appointed as the primary Incident Commander for the County‚’s COVID-19 response. By guiding the team with a steady hand, she has led an incredibly successful response to this wide-ranging and evolving emergency. Joni‚’s vast knowledge and experience in managing public health challenges were instrumental for the county‚’s COVID response. She enlisted a team of experts to assist in the management of this challenging emergency. Joni actively listened to all points of view and was comfortable synthesizing that input into timely and decisive action plans. She was wise enough to study and rely on the best available science and evidence to inform her choices. As information evolved, Joni was excellent at changing strategy based on analytical evidence. Joni orchestrated a strategy that focused on keeping nursing homes and schools safe, using hospital resources appropriately, mobilizing volunteers to help meet staffing shortfalls, and reducing the spread of COVID in high tourist areas. She prioritized clear and transparent communication with the public to help them understand the complex situation, the rationale behind new guidelines, and to encourage compliance to protect public health. Gunnison county‚’s response was so successful that it was replicated in other parts of the state. The Governor‚’s Advisory Committee for COVID-19 invited Joni to join their team. Joni was not afraid to enforce difficult decisions when she knew they were in the community‚’s best interest. She gracefully rose above criticism and even death threats with calm determination. The results of her leadership have been impressive. Early on during the crisis, skiers and tourists brought COVID-19 to Gunnison County, making it one of Colorado‚’s first areas to suffer a large outbreak. The county had among the highest per capita COVID case counts in the country at one point, but with rapid response and decisive actions under Joni‚’s leadership, Gunnison County managed to reduce the case count significantly.

General Recognition: 

Do you know someone who is deserving of recognition for contributions and accomplishments in public health, but the above awards categories do not quite fit? Tell us more!

Recipient:  The 53 LPHA Directors Across Colorado

I am nominating for recognition all of my fellow LPHA Directors for their steadfast commitment to leading their citizens through the COVID-19 pandemic. In every Colorado community, LPHA directors and their teams were at the center of measures aimed at tackling the spread and impact of COVID-19. They worked with partners across state and local government, healthcare institutions, NPOs and community sectors, and beyond, to co-produce a magnificent team response. They worked quickly, efficiently, and creatively, often times without regard for their own health and wellbeing. With no playbook for the decisions they faced, or the balance they should have attempted to maintain, and despite myriad capacity challenges and unprecedented hostility, including routine personal harassment, attacks, threats, being demeaned and demoralized, their unwavering dedication was a beacon of hope and stability for Colorado's citizens. In this once-in-a-century pandemic crisis, they rose to the challenge, and nowhere was this seen more clearly than in the local response to COVID- 19. I submit this nomination to express a sincere admiration and appreciation for LPHA directors who in 2020 were the embodiment of "service leadership." 


John Muth Award: 

Named in honor of Dr. John Muth, who served as CPHA President 1983-1984 and El Paso County Department of Health Director, and is still practicing internal medicine and obstetrics & gynecology in Colorado. This award is given to a member of CPHA who has made an outstanding contribution to the Association.

Recipient: Kimberly Boyd

As a leader of the CPHA Governing Board, and in the midst of a global pandemic, Kim managed to keep the ongoing priorities and emerging needs of the Association, its membership and impacted communities positioned for growth and development. The strain of volunteer governance, maintenance of physical and mental health and challenge of social and familial connection over the last year, all the while maintaining a successful consulting business, did impact Kim. Great leaders show their grit and perseverance through vulnerable and transparent sharing, and modeling the kinds of inclusion they imagine for their teams. Kim is such a leader. Kim dedicates an unprecedented time to the Association, driving its membership growth and learning capacity; has taken up the charge and challenge of antiracism work, as a white women in an organization traditionally led by white men; and, while learning and growing in her own personal and professional spaces, has taken time to check in with leaders and members throughout the Association to ensure they feel the care and belonging they deserve. 


Lifetime Achievement Award: 

This award honors an individual who has retired from full-time employment in public health, in recognition of their significant contributions and leadership in the field of public health.


Recipient:  Kathy Kennedy, DrPH, MA

In 1998, Dr. Kathy Kennedy was brought on to direct the newly founded Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL) and its flagship program, the Advanced Leadership Training Program (ALTP). Through her leadership over the past 23 years, RIHEL has grown from one flagship program to an institution offering multiple comprehensive programs, customized leadership training, and stand-alone workshops for public health and environmental professionals, health care providers, healthy community advocates, and those pursuing professional coaching skills. Dr. Kennedy‚’s contributions through RIHEL includes participation in the work to build the Colorado School of Public health and the Center for Public Health Practice, service on several public health institution boards and advisory committees, and multiple publications on leadership. The full impact of Dr. Kennedy‚’s contributions include and are best reflected through RIHEL‚’s 1000+ graduates and the leadership they are providing in our communities to address the complex problems that comprise much of our public health work. As Dr. Kennedy is looking to move on from her role at RIHEL, now is the time to show our appreciation for her vision, leadership, dedication, and many years of service to RIHEL and our workforce by providing her with the CPHA‚’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL) has been providing leadership and professional development training for workers in the health, environment, public and private sectors for 23 years under Dr. Kathy Kennedy's Rocky Mountain leadership.  RIHEL has trained over 1,000 professionals from multiple states in the Rocky Mountain region.  Nowadays, one of my tasks as RIHEL's Board member is finding a successor for Dr. Kennedy's executive directory position.  Preparing the job description was another good opportunity to appreciate her incredible commitment to the Public Health community one more time.  Dr. Kennedy has been key to connect and influence people to create better health and environments under the RIHEL umbrella and where she has been teaching at the University of Colorado's School of Public Health, where she created one masters degree program and two certificate programs.  She also teaches the Doctoral Leadership Seminar, Leadership in Public Health Practice and leadership Dialogues for postgraduate fellows in the School of Medicine.  Dr. Kennedy has worked in 20 countries and has served as an advisor tot he World Health Organization (WHO) Human Reproductive Program in Geneva, Switzerland, directing data analysis and report writing for a variety of projects, including large international prospective studies.


In 1998, the newly founded Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL) made the brilliant move to bring Dr. Kathy Kennedy on to direct the new organization and its flagship program, the Advanced Leadership Training Program.  With her 23 years of leadership and thoughtful guidance, RIHEL has grown to an institution offering multiple comprehensive programs, customized leadership trainings, and workshops for public health and environmental professionals, health care providers, healthy community design advocates, and those pursuing professional coaching skills, boasting over 1,000 program graduates.  Dr. Kennedy's significant contributions include supporting the State's public health emergency preparedness training efforts post 9/11, working as an integral team member in the development of the Colorado School of Public Health and the Center for Public Health Practice, serving on several boards and advisory committees, and through her scholarship.  the full impact of Dr. Kennedy's contributions are exponentially reflected through RIHEL's graduates and the leadership they provide.  From an award-winning project to save Colorado's Prairie Eco-Region to the foundational development of the Stat's Office of Health Equity, the impact of RIHEL's graduates is considerable.  Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming are forever indebted to Dr. Kennedy's vision, leadership, and dedication to their state's workforce.

Public Health Champ Award: 

The Public Health Champ Award was created in 1982 and goes to a full-time public health employee who is not in a high-level management position. The recipient must be a member of CPHA and have made an outstanding contribution to public health.

Recipient:  Ashley Wheeler-Bell

It has been an honor serving alongside Ashley under the banner of CPHA since 2016. She has been integral to the design and development of the Health Equity Coalition (HEC), from a founding member at its inception, to its leader through a global pandemic and the many challenges of 2020. She has helped create equitable infrastructure and more intentional convenings which set as much time for relationship building and deep dialogue as for work. She has boldly strived to ensure that members and leaders of CPHA and the HEC alike, have an understanding of the enduring legacy of racism as the structural and causal force behind the social problems we aim to solve. She has been instrumental to CPHA‚’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization and to our efforts to identify and uproot injustice within systems (starting with our own) and ultimately, within our communities. While Ashley is a strategic and big picture thinker, she is also a healer, as invested in the liberation of individual hearts and minds as she is in structural transformation. CPHA and the HEC are more committed to and better equipped to advance equity and justice as a result of Ashley‚’s service, wisdom, and leadership. 

Sabin Award: 

The Florence Sabin Award was established in 1947 by CPHA. The award is made for achievement in the public health field, in recognition of the outstanding leadership of Dr. Florence Sabin in the promotion of better public health in Colorado. This award is made to a person whose primary career is not in the public health field.

Recipient:  Melody Maendel

Mel helped create and grow our Jeffco CTC Youth Internship program throughout her years in high school. Even as she herself experienced major life challenges, she has continuously worked to improve our community, promoting justice, positive social norms and opportunities for youth. After a year as an intern, she was promoted to serve as a leader of our youth program for two full years. Additionally, she has presented at two conferences, presented to local, state and national elected officials, and served as a CTC representative on county boards. Mel is going to college in Alaska this fall-- and we don't know what we will do without her!

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