Seven local public health heroes awarded for rising to the challenge in 2020

May 17, 2021

2020 brought special challenges for public health, and 2020’s Local Public Health Hero Awards recognize special heroes who rose to the challenge. Whether by responding to the aftermath of the Drake fire, COVID-19 or the civil unrest that came about after the murder of George Floyd, or whether by maintaining ongoing critical services during these stressors, these community partners all supported the foundations of health equity, healthy lives and healthy environments. Their service to public health activities transforms and strengthens the lives of Minneapolis residents and visitors.

Local Public Health Hero Awards

The 2020 recipients awarded by the Minneapolis Health Department:

Health Department goal category: safe places to eat, swim and stay

Jon Kreidler of Tattersall Distilling and Chris and Shanelle Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits made a critical pivot, turning portions of their distilling facilities into hand sanitizer production sites to address the emerging needs of the Minneapolis community during the COVID19 pandemic. This made them a significant source for hand sanitizer for local food shelves, farmers markets, schools, businesses and the City of Minneapolis. Both organizations addressed the community’s food needs as well.

Health Department goal category: healthy living

Alicia Smith, Keeya Allen and Molly Fleming of Corcoran Neighborhood Organization are leaders in the Minneapolis farmers market community providing expansive food access support to the community by operating pop-up food pantries in multiple locations, implementing emergency food delivery serving thousands of residents and providing food and hygiene supplies throughout the pandemic and following the unrest after George Floyd’s murder.

Health Department goal category: thriving youth and young adults

Rochelle Cox, associate superintendent at Minneapolis Public Schools, and her COVID response team have insisted on gold-standard recommendations, maximizing safety and school-based opportunities for staff and students. They insist on ensuring testing and vaccination opportunities are available and medical information is accessible to Black people, Indigenous people and people of color and available in other languages.

Health Department goal category: strong urban public health infrastructure

Shane Price of Power of People Leadership Institute and Hadija Steen-Mills of Black Liberation Abolitionist Cohort have been key partners to the Minneapolis Health Department helping to inform its approach to COVID-19 testing so that the events are welcoming and easily accessible to communities with barriers, people at high risk for COVID-19, people previously incarcerated,  Black people, Indigenous people and people of color.

Health Department goal category: thriving youth and young adults

Coach Larry McKenzie and Coach D (Darnell McElveen) of North High School Polars Basketball have been partners of the Minneapolis Health Department conducting important work surrounding teen dating and youth violence prevention through an evidence-based prevention curriculum helping young people recognize harmful behavior, understand what healthy relationships look like, and practice skills that empower young men to be leaders in creating a culture of respect and nonviolence.

Find more information on how the Minneapolis Health Department serves the public health.