San Diego, California - Fifteen local individuals and organizations were honored for their contributions to improving the health and well-being of area residents and communities.

The 13th annual Live Well San Diego Public Health Champion Awards were presented Friday by the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) at the County Administration Center in San Diego.

“These award winners are true community heroes and they have worked so hard to improve the health and safety of San Diego County residents,” said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, County Board of Supervisors. “Much of their work is done without fanfare, but their contributions—large or small—are vital to the welfare of our residents and our region.”

This year’s awards recognize achievements related to the 2014 National Public Health Week theme—Public Health: Start Here! The Live Well San Diego Public Health Champion Awards were created to recognize public and private partnerships and the ongoing collaboration to improve overall health and wellness of the county’s diverse populations.

“These public health professionals are guiding individuals and communities through the many changes of the public health system,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Their work exemplifies exceptional achievements, longstanding excellence and outstanding leadership to improve and protect the health of San Diego County residents.”

The awards have been presented every year and are part of Live Well San Diego, the County’s ongoing initiative to improve the health and wellbeing of area residents.

“These awards showcase the work of our public health partners and the collaboration taking place with local governments, businesses and the overall community,” said HHSA Director Nick Macchione. “These individuals and organizations dedicate their time and talent to advance public health and create healthy, safe and thriving individuals and communities.”

The 2014 Live Well San Diego Public Health Champions Awards recipients are:

Theme Award: Kay Stuckhardt

Stuckhardt has worked in the public health arena for over 30 years. Her achievements include initiating and managing Share the Care, an initiative between HHSA, the San Diego County Dental Society and the San Diego County Dental Health Coalition to provide access to emergency dental care for children and offer information preventive dental care. Stuckardt also developed a model HIV prevention curriculum for teachers, mentored public health students and oversaw multiple programs on childhood obesity and senior wellness. She is currently a community liaison for Palomar Health and works to identify, address and advocate for the health needs of local communities.

Individual Award: Dr. Linda Hill

Dr. Hill specializes in preventive medicine and has worked in public health for 34 years. She holds multiple positions at UC San Diego, including director of the Preventive Medicine Residency Program and Medical Director for the Refugee Health Assessment Program. Dr. Hill has championed many public health causes, including breast cancer screening and prevention, cardiovascular risk reduction, exercise and physical activity.

Organization Award: Institute for Behavioral and Community Health (IBACH)

Founded in 1982, IBACH is a non-profit research institute that promotes research and academic programs on behavioral science principles and their relation to medicine and health care. IBACH is part of the San Diego State University Research Foundation and is currently working on multiple research and training projects focusing on understanding and promoting health in underserved communities. 

Regional Awards:

Northgate Gonzalez Markets – Central Region

Northgate Gonzalez Markets was the first local business to be a Live Well San Diego partner. The supermarket chain has been working for positive community change for over 30 years and is committed to improving the health and wellness its staff and customers. Northgate Gonzalez Markets founders Don Miguel González and Doña Teresa Reynoso de González implemented the Viva La Salud program, an initiative which helps customers and staff to quickly identify healthy food options.

Rolland Slade – East Region

Slade is the Senior Pastor at Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon. Thanks to Pastor Slade’s leadership, the Church is involved in several community partnerships to strengthen families and is a member of the Live Well San Diego East Region Leadership Team. The Church has also launched the 100 Congregations for Million Hearts initiative, which encourages faith-based organizations to increase awareness about heart disease and high blood pressure prevention.

Joanne Drinkwater – North Central Region

Drinkwater works as a Healthcare Provider Outreach Associate for the supplemental nutrition program of the American Red Cross Women, Infants and Children. A registered dietician, Drinkwater has worked for 36 years to improve nutrition on a community and individual level and serves on the Live Well San Diego North Central Leadership Team.

Healthy Day Partners – North Coastal Region

Healthy Day Partners work with the Encinitas School District and are dedicated to engaging students through school gardens, wellness and environmental education in an effort to empower them to make responsible decisions about their health. Efforts include partnering with grocery store Jimbo’s Naturally to provide healthy snacks for students, a composting program and a resource conservation program, which has led to an 80 percent reduction in lunchtime waste.

Susi Jones – North Inland Region

For the past 15 years, Jones has served as the Executive Director of Julian Pathways Center for Family, Schools and Community Partnerships, which works to improve the health and academic success of Julian’s students and families. Ms. Jones is also a founding member of the Backcountry Collaborative, which aims to improve the well-being of the Julian community.

National City – South Region

National City was the first city in the South Region to become a Live Well San Diego city because of its numerous public health efforts, including the creation of a community garden, improving walkability and implementing the Safe Routes to School program, and becoming a Healthy Eating Active Living city, a program which encourages cities to embrace policies that promote healthier lifestyles and communities.

Senior Community Centers – Aging and Independence Services

Established in 1974, Senior Community Centers provides housing, health, meals, education and social services to diverse older adults throughout the county. Senior Community Centers includes several housing complexes which offer opportunities for gardening as well as supportive services for residents. Senior Community Centers is expected to deliver a total of over 550,000 meals this year.

Director’s Award:

First 5 San Diego

First 5 San Diego promotes the health and well-being of young children during their most critical years of development, from the prenatal stage through five years of age. It also provides San Diego’s youngest children with healthy development screenings, dental care, high-quality preschool, and parenting workshops. The goal is to help ensure that every child in San Diego County enters school ready to succeed.

The Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter

Founded in 1982, the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through research, enhanced care and support for all affected. It also aims to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Dr. Carleen Stoskopf

Dr. Stoskopf is the director of the San Diego State University (SDSU) Graduate School of Public Health. With her leadership, SDSU has been able to expand many of its current programs, including graduate and undergraduate degree programs. Dr. Stoskopf’s areas of research include access to and utilization of health services, patient outcomes, health insurance reform, and health disparities among vulnerable populations, including African-Americans, the elderly and people living with HIV/AIDS or a mental illness.

San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS)

Established in 1870, SDCMS is a non-profit organization of doctors which help other doctors. They help each other solve problems, save money, stay informed, build community, influence legislation and protect patients. Its mission is to act independently — as well as jointly with the California Medical Association— to promote the science and art of medicine, as well as quality care and the well-being of patients.

San Diego County Medical Society Foundation

San Diego County Medical Society Foundation was formed in 2005 as a separate not-for-profit organization by the San Diego County Medical Society. Its mission is to address unmet San Diego healthcare needs of all patients and physicians through innovation, education, and service. Its programs and services focus on increasing access to healthcare services, improving health outcomes, and improving the local healthcare system.