College honors 2018 Champions of Public Health

Public health leaders, practitioners, organizations and educators were among the seven honorees at the college's annual awards ceremony on Tuesday.


  • Erinn Aulfinger
December 7, 2018
The 2018 Champions of Public Health awardees.
The 2018 Champions of Public Health awardees.

The College of Public Health hosted its annual Champions of Public Health Awards Ceremony on Tuesday to recognize seven individuals and organizations that made an impact on the health and well-being of Ohioans.

  • The Community Leader Award was presented to Rev. John Edgar, the pastor and executive director of United Methodist Church and Community Development for All People in Columbus, for his work with improving food security, housing, employment and access to basic health care.


  • Lisa Roberts, RN, of the Portsmouth City Health Department was awarded the Public Health Practitioner Award for her work developing one of the first naloxone distribution programs in the state, as well as establishing one of the first needle exchange programs in rural southern Ohio to combat the opioid crisis.


  • The Organization Award was presented to the Community Overdose Action Team of Public Health- Dayton and Montgomery County for their response to the largest unintentional overdose death rates in the state. They involved over 140 organizations and 200 people to combat this epidemic by increasing access to treatment, decreasing the supply of illegal drugs, increasing medical response to these issues, and educating the community. As a result of these innovative initiatives, the Community Overdose Action Team of Dayton and Montgomery County saw their drug overdose deaths go down by 65 percent.


  • The Health Policy Institute of Ohio received the Dean’s Award for its work in providing effective and reliable information to the state since its founding in 2003.


  • The Franklin Banks, William R. Gemma Distinguished Alumna Memorial Award was presented to Elizabeth Seely, MHA '90, chief administrative officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Throughout her career, Seely focused on helping build universal access to health services. She was also a founding board member of the Partnership for Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) for the lower east side to invest in holistically improving housing, education and employment in her community.


  • The College of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award was given to Tasleem Padamsee, PhD, assistant professor of health services management and policy. She was nominated by students who described her teaching style as “passionate” and “caring.”


  • Heather Kerr, MA, was named the College of Public Health Employee of the Year for her work as a BSPH academic and career adviser. She was commended for her enthusiasm and focus on students, and teamwork. 

About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 23rd among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 7-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP), and Center for the Advancement of Tobacco Science (CATS).