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Public Health Achievement Awards
Honoring advocates of health

The Dakota County Board of Commissioners presented Public Health Achievement Awards to four recipients at its Board meeting Tuesday, April 9, as part of National Public Health Week.

Laura Sweere and Natalie Hamley, students at Lakeville North High School; Joe McCarthy, physical education teacher at Meadowview Elementary School in Farmington; and “A Healthier Hastings 4 All” community collaborative sponsored by Regina Medical Center were recognized for their efforts to build and sustain healthy families and communities in Dakota County.

Sweere, a sophomore, and Hamley, a junior, were recognized in the “youth” category for training fourth-grade students throughout the county in managing peer pressure and avoiding use of alcohol and tobacco. Sweere and Hamley participate in the Youth Teaching Youth program from the University of Minnesota Extension, which promotes leadership and positive role modeling to encourage young students to make healthy and safe choices.

McCarthy, who was awarded in the “individual” category, has developed and implemented award-winning programs at Meadowview Elementary that increase student achievement, reduce obesity and increase positive student behavior. He has successfully engaged parents to participate with their kids in fitness activities through family events that encourage physical activity.

“A Healthier Hastings 4 All,” recipient of the “community group” award, consists of 15 community organizations including schools, businesses, the city of Hastings, YMCA and Regina Medical Center. The collaborative works with community members to create a culture of wellness, promote nutrition and physical activity, and provide healthy living resources, activities, and events in Hastings.

The Dakota County Board established the Public Health Achievement Awards in March 2000 to recognize and honor the contributions of Dakota County residents who devote their time, energy and talents to creating a healthy future for their fellow county residents.