Michigan Public Health Week Celebrates Local Heroes and Champions

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2012

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) - in conjunction with its partners in local public health across the state - will celebrate Michigan Public Health Week April 22-28. The national theme this year is, "A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement."

Every year, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for millions of premature deaths. Catching and preventing these illnesses before they develop is the key to improving our health. The good news is that there are many small steps we can take to begin leading healthier lives.

MDCH and its partners will highlight Public Health Week at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 25 at its annual Public Health Week celebration in the Capitol Rotunda. During the event, MDCH and its partners will recognize 10 Health Policy Champions for their efforts in supporting public policies to improve the health and safety of Michigan residents. MDCH also will recognize 13 individuals and groups as Hometown Health Heroes who have worked collaboratively to make their communities healthier places to live and grow.

"Michigan's public health leaders encourage communities to take preventative measures and to improve their health every day," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the MDCH. "The Health Policy Champions and Hometown Health Heroes are key to shaping public policies that protect and improve the health in their communities. Each step can lead to big changes, and I'm thrilled to honor these individuals for their efforts."

The 2012 Health Policy Champions:

  • Laura Fitzpatrick - Liquor Control Advisory Rules Committee 
  • Denise Holmes - Retired public health leader; formerly with MSU and MDCH
  • Meijer Healthy Living Team - Meijer, Inc.
  • Susan Smolinske - Children's Hospital of Michigan Regional Poison Control Center
  • Kenneth E. Warner - Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Jessica Yorko - Environmental Justice Coordinator, Ingham County Health Department
  • Representative Lesia Liss of the 28th District
  • Representative Matt Lori of the 59th District
  • Senator Jim Marleau of the 12th District
  • Senator Rebekah Warren of the 18th District

The 2012 Hometown Health Heroes: 

  • Marsialle Arbuckle - Center for Urban Youth and Family Development, Detroit 
  • Vision Priority Team 6 - MDCH Laboratory, Lansing
  • Karyn Juntunen - Winter sports exercise program developer, Hancock
  • Kevin and Tammy Epling - Anti-bullying leaders, East Lansing
  • Belinda Thurston - Just B Yoga, Lansing
  • Livingston County Community Alliance, Livingston county
  • Cathy Goike - Girls on the Run program, Alpena
  • Sushma Reddy, MD - "Walk for Summer Reading" program, St. Clair county
  • Girls Group, Inc. - Ann Arbor
  • Cheryl Griffin -Lifestyle Counselor, Manistee, Lake, Wexford, and Newaygo counties
  • Deb Hardcastle - "Safe Sleep for Infants" program, Washtenaw county
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Ottawa and Allegan counties
  • Ann Siegle - Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition, Lansing

The Michigan Association for Local Public Health, the Michigan Public Health Association, the Michigan Public Health Institute, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Wayne State University have partnered with MDCH to implement Public Health Week activities. To learn more about Michigan Public Health Week, please visit www.michigan.gov/mdch.

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