The College of Public Health presented the 2017 Champions of Public Health Awards on October 16 to five individuals and organizations for making strides in improving the health and well-being of Ohioans.
Among the awardees were the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, which received the Dean’s Award for adhering to the needs of poor children, those with disabilities and children of color; Robert Crane, MD, president and founder of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, who received the Community Leader Award for his work preventing nicotine addiction in Ohio and across the nation; Catherine Hewitt, MPH, health educator and Medical Reserve Corps coordinator for Lake County General Health District, who received the Public Health Practitioner Award for her community health work to end tobacco use and other health education accomplishments; and Al Edmondson, who received the Organization Award for Making a Difference Inc., a non-profit he founded and of which he serves as CEO, that focuses heavily on personal awareness and well-being throughout urban areas of Columbus by holding health fairs and wellness clinics to educate the members of the community.
“This acknowledgement means so much to me and many others,” Edmondson said during his acceptance speech. “I hope this will be an example to encourage others to get involved in [their] community.”
Edmondson began his philanthropic efforts by partnering with Ohio State’s College of Nursing and African American nursing program, Chi Eta Phi, to hold health screenings in his barbershop, A Cut Above the Rest, on Columbus's Near East Side. You can read more about Edmondson in the fall/winter 2017 issue of our magazine, Ohio State Public Health.
Julia Scheinman, a 2016 Bachelor of Science in Public Health graduate, received the Franklin Banks, William R. Gemma Distinguished Alumni Memorial Award. Scheinman currently serves as a disease intervention specialist in the Women’s Health and Family Planning Center at Columbus Public Health. She was offered the full-time position following an internship in the Teen Outreach Program, where she provided comprehensive sexual education to young people between the ages of 12 and 18. In addition to improving the lives of Ohioans, her new role is another step toward her dream of working in women’s health.
In her acceptance speech, Scheinman shared experiences of seeing the impact of her work through young people she has taught so far in her career. “These moments that I’m sharing with you are rarely public,” Scheinman tearfully shared with the audience. “This is part of the reason why I call those in public health 'unsung heroes.' That’s why receiving [this] recognition so publicly today is so meaningful and so extraordinary.”
Along with members of the Ohio State and Columbus public health communities, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of the 3rd District of Ohio joined the ceremony, and shared her take on the importance of public health.
“I’m in Washington everyday fighting for health care, for public health dollars,” Beatty said as she congratulated the award recipients. “You know why? Because you give us the hope. You provide the opportunity, and it is because of departments and colleges like yours … that will give us the change that we need.”
The Champions of Public Health Awards are presented each year by the College of Public Health to recognize individuals and organizations representing any discipline, and contribute to efforts in any region of Ohio, that make significant contributions to the health and well-being of Ohioans.