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Deschutes County announces 2018 Health Heroes


The Deschutes County Public Health Advisory Board is pleased to announce its 2018 Health Hero award recipients.

The awards, which are presented annually in conjunction with National Public Health Week in April and Mental Health Month in May, honor an individual and a group that demonstrates excellence in promoting and protecting behavioral and public health.

“What an honor to recognize the great work of citizens who are passionate about making our communities healthy and livable,” said Deschutes County Public Health Advisory Board Chair, Kate Wells.

This year, the Individual Award winner was Maria McClain-Madden, the Assistant Principal at Juniper Elementary School in Bend. Maria was described by the Deschutes County OSU Extension Nutrition Education Program as “a true champion and ideal community partner in helping increase physical activity and healthy eating habits among students and families.” She encourages staff to integrate more physical activity into instructional time started the Jr. Coach program at recess to encourage more collaborative play and help 4th and 5th grade students develop stronger leadership skills. Maria has creatively found many ways to make physical activity and healthy eating accessible to students and families. Maria also bikes to school every day, promoting healthy habits by being a role model for her peers and students.

The Organization Health Hero Award winner was The Programs of Evaluation, Development And Learning (PEDAL) at St. Charles Health System. Since 2010, PEDAL providers have worked with children born prematurely, with cardiac disorders, genetic and neurological conditions, concussions and autism spectrum disorders. PEDAL provides neuropsychological and multi-disciplinary evaluations for children and youth with special health care needs. These children are at increased risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and require ongoing assessment and treatment. Prior to 2010 Central Oregon families were overwhelmed with having to seek services outside of their community. They had to travel long distances, attend multiple appointments in numerous settings, and had no support accessing services locally. These services keep families in their community, decrease wait times for evaluation and diagnosis, and provide resource navigation to ensure adherence to treatment plans.

Award recipients were recognized by the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners earlier this month.

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