Anoka County Public Health Award honorees recognized

Three Anoka County Public Health Award recipients have been honored.

Those recognized for their work at the April 9 Anoka County Board meeting include George Steiner, chairman of the Northwest Community Health Council; Dawn Rutt, youth services coordinator for Alexandra House; and Anoka-Hennepin District 11 school nurses.

According to County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah, the awards were established in 2006 to “recognize and honor citizens in Anoka County who devote their time, energy and talent to improving public health in our communities.”

Steiner, according to Commissioner Matt Look, was instrumental in the formation of a program addressing childhood obesity.

He also advocated for student wellness screenings and the establishment of an Anoka County mental health medication program.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone like George advocating for public health,” Look said.

Steiner said he accepted the award on behalf of the entire Northwest Community Health Council.

Commissioner Scott Schulte, speaking about Rutt’s service, said, “Dawn advocates tirelessly for youth impacted by violence.”

Rutt developed the Choose Respect program, which goes into schools to educate students about dating violence. She also worked with the city of Centerville to plan the second annual Project Purple, a week-long violence prevention program.

“Dawn has touched the lives of literally thousands of young people throughout her career,” Schulte said.

Rutt was out of town when the awards were presented, but Sue Rodman of Alexandra House shared her words with those at the county board meeting.

“I feel very fortunate to work and volunteer for many years in areas I feel passionate about. I’m inspired every day by the teens I work with,” Rodman said on behalf of Rutt.

The Anoka-Hennepin District 11 school nurses were recognized for their work in educating the public on the importance of vaccinations and in helping monitor and supply information during the recent pertussis outbreak in the area.

“Not many people realize what we do in the public health sector,” said one District 11 school nurse.

Kelly Johnson is at [email protected]