Recipients of the 2021 Public Health Heroes Awards, presented by New Mexico State University’s Department of Public Health Sciences. Recipients included Olivia De Leon, center left, Lindsey Davis, center right, and youth farmers from Anthony Youth Farm. | NMSU photo by Josh Bachman

NMSU presents seventh annual Public Health Heroes Awards

New Mexico State University’s Department of Public Health Sciences honored three public health advocates for their outstanding work over the past year in promoting public health and keeping communities safe.

The NMSU Public Health Heroes Awards, now in its seventh year, recognize and celebrate local public health heroes for their ongoing contributions and commitments to public health.

College of Health and Social Services interim Dean Sonya Cooper, Professor Emeritus Cindy Kratzke and public health sciences Professor Jagdish Khubchandani presented the awards earlier this month in conjunction with National Public Health Week.

“We always appreciate our public health champions in the community. This year, during the pandemic crises, our public health workers across the state worked tirelessly for New Mexico,” Cooper said. “We are honored to recognize the best of our state in the field of public health.”

Recipients for this year’s Public Health Heroes Awards included:

Anthony Youth Farm in Anthony, New Mexico, received the Community Organization/Program Public Health Hero Award. The award recognizes an organization or program that provides excellent services and integrates the value of health into the community. Anthony Youth Farm trains young farmers through food, farming and business incubation while giving back to the local community.

“We are very honored to have been selected for this award. This award is a testimony to our growing work in New Mexico communities with youth who are the future of the nation,” said Alma Maquitico, director of Anthony Youth Farm.

Olivia De Leon, director of the Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Program at NMSU, received the Community Leader Public Health Hero Award. The award recognizes a recipient who provides distinguished services to the community and significant contributions as a leader in developing healthier communities. WAVE educates the NMSU community on issues of personal safety and well-being. De Leon oversees a staff that includes peer educators, who provide fellow students with information and strategies related to health, safety and overall well-being.

“I am a proud NMSU graduate and continue to work with students at NMSU on various health issues that affect not only their health and well-being but also their academic performance. I am grateful for this award and all the education I received from the Department of Public Health Sciences,” De Leon said.

Lindsey Davis, southwest regional trainer coach for the Children, Youth & Families Department in Las Cruces, received the Rising Star Public Health Hero Award. The award recognizes a rising public health professional in Doña Ana County who promotes healthy communities. Davis graduated from NMSU with a dual degree in public health and social work. She is a licensed master social worker and certified health education specialist and has almost a decade of professional experience in domestic and international public health and social welfare.

“I am humbled and surprised with this award and accept it with honor,” Davis said. “It was just a little time ago that I was a student in the Department of Social Work and Department of Public Health Sciences, and I’ve been able to apply all the knowledge I gained to improve child and family welfare around New Mexico. I continue to engage with the NMSU community and believe that together we can make New Mexico better.”

For more information about the awards, contact the Department of Public Health Sciences at 575-646-4300.

Author: Carlos Andres López – NMSU


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