WSPHA 2017 Award Recipients

WSPHA is proud to recognize the following leaders for their dedication and contribution to the public health community.



Gabino Abarca, Undergraduate Student, 
University of Washington

Gabino is a student in the SURE-EH, a training program that provides opportunities for underrepresented students at the UW to conduct environmental health science-related research alongside faculty in the School of Public Health. Gabino’s work focuses on the prevention of adverse heat health effects in vulnerable populations, including outdoor agricultural workers.

Gabino has become even more passionate about his work after the unfortunate death of a berry worker in WA this summer. Gabino’s research supervisor described Gabino as "one of the best undergraduates I have worked with. He is passionate about improving the health of communities, including the agricultural communities. He has directly contributed to work that has implications for improving health in outdoor agricultural workers."


Alexandra Hayes


Alexandra Hayes, Immunization Outreach Coordinator, 
Spokane Regional Health District

Alexandra has served as the co-chair of the WSPHA Annual Conference for the last 7 years. She has been instrumental in making the conference the marque event for the public health community. Alexandra earns the trust and respect of her team through her humor, solution-oriented attitude and dedication to public health. Aside from serving as the conference co-chair, Alexandra excels as the Immunization Outreach Coordinator at Spokane Regional Health District.



Judy Olsen, Environmental Health Specialist III, 
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Judy brings respect, trust and credibility to the health department and positively impacts her colleagues and the community through her many education and outreach efforts. She and a team conducted over 4,000 environmental assessments and asthma home visits, of which over 500 were completed by Judy. She provided over 100 asthma, environmental triggers, and indoor air quality presentations and training to healthcare staff, students, families, and community groups.

Judy demonstrates a strong commitment to health equity in her work to develop community engagement and educational program/materials in partnership with the Slavic and Spanish-speaking communities. Her efforts typically focus on underserved and overlooked community members who endure unfair treatment and suffer from disproportionate health impacts. Judy approaches all community members and professionals with respect, dignity, humility and humanity.



Vivian Hawkins, Epidemiologist, 
Washington State Department of Health

Vivian has led the way on several current issues that have been the backbone of all local health jurisdictions (LHJ’s) responses. She has created a Legionella response team for Washington that provides guidance for any Local Health Jurisdiction or healthcare facility that is faced with responding to a case of Legionella within their facilities. As a result of her successful program, Vivian is now on the national Legionella workgroup working with the CDC. She has created a similar support structure for our first cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and seasonal influenza as well.

Vivian’s nominator wrote: "No task is too small and no question too trivial, Vivian is the model of public health excellence. Vivian is actively preparing the next generation of public health leaders in addition to her daily role as a subject matter expert in Legionella and Influenza. As the state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, I have never nominated a person for this award but I felt strongly about the public health practice I have personally witnessed(A by Vivian Hawkins over the last several years."



Julie Postma, Associate Professor, 
Washington State University College of Nursing

Dr. Julie Postma received 2 nominations for the 2017 Public Health Leadership Award. One nominator described Dr. Postma as an exemplary leader, advocate, researcher, and educator in public health. Environmental justice, health equity and social justice are threads throughout all her activities.

Dr. Postma led a 3-year community engagement project to increase parent participation in the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition. She developed a research advisory network to build patient and family-centered research opportunities with coalition partners. Using participatory methods such as community cafés and photovoice, parents of children with asthma described barriers and facilitating factors for asthma management. Dr. Postma’s leadership has facilitated parent participation in national, state and regional conferences, as well as local cultural festivals. Dr. Postma effectively works alongside parents who are new to this country and may not speak English, public health professionals, clinicians, and asthma researchers. She is an active and effective listener, empathetic to the beliefs and knowledge of others, and she points out commonalities as well as diversity of opinion while directing action toward integration and progress. These attributes speak to her collective leadership style and skill set.



Adrienne Thompson, Senior Union Representative 
and Legislative Director, PTE Local 17

Adrienne has been a critically important and unwavering champion of public health through her leadership roles as co-chair of the Public Health Roundtable, as an organizer of the annual WSPHA Legislative Day and – most important recently – as the voice of a key outside partner in the Foundational Public Health Services/Public Health is Essential Campaign. Her advocacy with groups such as the Children’s Alliance Public Policy Council and the Health Coalition for Children and Youth has brought an outside community voice to the campaign and strengthened the credibility of the effort from a community perspective.

Adrienne’s commitment to public health and her wise council in work with elected officials and community partners consistently impress her colleagues. We are succeeding in the campaign because of advocates and partners like Adrienne. She provides a model for other community partners and will continue to be a critical leader and thinker as the campaign moves forward.



Representative Laurie Jinkins, 
27th Legislative District

Rep. Jinkins is a passionate advocate for health. A Democrat from Pierce County, she chairs the House Judiciary Committee but has deep roots in public health having served as an assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health before taking the position of Director of Organizational Initiatives at the Tacoma-Pierce Health Department. Rep. Jinkins’ guidance and advocacy were instrumental in securing new state funding for Public Health during the 2017 legislative session.



Representative June Robinson, 
38th Legislative District

As Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Robinson, a Democrat from Everett, is a lead budget negotiator. The Public Health community owes her an immense amount of gratitude for her commitment to and delivery of new dollars for public health in our state. Her passion for public health dates back to her service as a public-health nutritionist while serving in the Peace Corps in rural Jamaica. Rep. Robinson currently works at Public Health — Seattle & King County as a program manager in Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention Section. 



Representative Paul Harris, 
17th Legislative District

Rep. Harris, a Republican from Clark County, is committed to tobacco prevention in Washington state. He was a lead sponsor on the Tobacco 21 bill and has also worked to regulate vaping devices. When he was alerted of this award, he replied "Please know that I will continue to work to get this legislation passed." WSPHA looks forward to working with Rep. Harris in 2018 to advance our shared goal of reduced tobacco use in our state.



Senator Ann Rivers, 
18th Legislative District

As Chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, Sen. Rivers understands the needs of our state’s health care system and the funding challenges facing public health. She worked with her colleagues in the Senate Majority Coalition to identify new state funding to track, monitor and prevent the spread of disease in Washington.