Oregon Public Health Institute Celebrates 2013 Genius Award Winners

11th Annual Billi Odegaard Public Health Genius Awards honor achievements and contributions to improving public health in Oregon.


October 15, 2013 -- The Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI) will honor Genius award recipients on October 25th, 2013 at the Multnomah Athletic Club from 12:00-2:00. The luncheon is open to the public. Individual tickets are $50 and can be purchased online or by check or credit card. For more information, contact Pattie at [email protected]503.227.5502 x221.

Three recipients will be honored at the luncheon:

Lifetime Excellence Award: Mary Lou Hennrich       

Mary Lou recently retired after 12 years as executive director of the Oregon Public Health Institute.  Beginning her career as a public health nurse, Mary Lou has worked for more than 40 years to improve the health of Oregonians. She helped create school-based health care centers, developed CareOregon into the leading Medicaid provider in the state, and fought for healthy food and physical education standards for Oregon's students. Through Mary Lou's leadership, OPHI championed efforts to prevent childhood obesity, shape public health legislation, and support municipalities in planning future development with an eye toward health equity.

Emerging Leader Award: Wilber Ramirez-Rodriguez

Wilber is a faculty member at the Pacific University Dental Health Science Program, and works with students at the Diabetes Clinic to provide dental hygiene services to underserved patients. Wilber is also a promotoré for Providence Health Services and created Dental Reach, a dental program that partners with Tuality Healthcare ¡Salud! Services to provide preventive oral care to migrant and seasonal workers. Throughout his career, he has partnered with several other local, national and international organizations to continue providing oral health care for underserved communities.

Exceptional Group Award: Oregon Health Equity Alliance

The Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA), a partnership aimed at addressing health disparities, is made up of APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon), Oregon Latino Health Coalition, Oregon Action, Center for Intercultural Organizing, Urban League of Portland, and Causa Oregon. OHEA successfully advocated for seven legislative priorities during the 2013 legislative session that help reduce health disparities in Oregon.

The Oregon Public Health Institute is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of Oregonians through advocacy and support of effective public health policy and activities.


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