WSPHA 2018 Award Recipients

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



Kendall Kramer, Undergraduate Student, Central Washington University

Kendall is currently an undergraduate student at Central Washington University majoring in Public Health and Spanish.

Over the past year, Kendall was awarded the U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study abroad and intern at a legal protection’s agency in Cusco, Peru. Kendall then went on to present for Building Community Abroad at CWU’s Symposium on University Research and Creative Expression this past Spring. Her presentation earned the Outstanding Service Learning Award from among several hundred student and community presentations.  At the same venue, Kendall also won an Outstanding Poster award for her mentored research project on teen pregnancy prevention in Washington State. 


Jessica Rock, Graduate Student, University of Washington

Jessica Rock is currently in the second year of her MPH program at the UW. After obtaining her BA at Western, she was employed as an AmeriCorps program worker to help implement the then-new Affordable Care Act. She went on to work for the Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement, where she oversaw health insurance enrollment across a five-county region, successfully connecting 60,000 people to care. She also helped develop a program at Whatcom Community College to train Care Navigators.

Jessica volunteered to chair the seminar committee for her MPH program. For this project, she and her class will be working with two homeless shelter programs for individuals in the Seattle area. She is tasked with evaluating the policies and practices associated with the Code of Conduct.


Teresa Mata-Cervantes, Undergraduate Student, University of Washington

Teresa is currently enrolled at the University of Washington, is majoring in Global Health and is expecting to graduate this December.

Teresa has worked at TOGETHER! For Youth, where she focused on addressing substance abuse prevention and anti-bullying. She also worked with Community Choice, where she contributed to the assessment of community health needs.  This work influenced her research as a McNair Scholar, where she has conducted her own research focused on culturally-tailored Community Health Workers. Most recently, Teresa was a participant in the Summer Public Health Scholars Program through Columbia University in New York where she was placed with a mentor and showcased her work to members from the CDC. 



Public Health Centers for Excellence & Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

 The Public Health Centers for Excellence is a partnership between Spokane Regional Health District and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, two leaders in community health quality, innovation and engagement. The Centers for Excellence provide assessment, evaluation and data analysis; quality and performance management; equity and empowerment; and participatory planning and budgeting. The Centers for Excellence has made great strides this year in public health and we are happy to recognize them for this.



Amelia Underwood, Program Manager, Washington Medical Commission

Amelia has coordinated and executed many public hearings to facilitate the creation of opioid prescribing rules across multiple prescribing professions while listening to the concerns of both the patients and providers that these new rules would affect. She worked with the rulemaking panel to create solutions that would reduce their burden. Afterwards, she went on to create an economic impact study to ensure that these rules would not have a negative economic impact on prescribers or their patients. The Secretary of Health and the Governor's office have recommended that all prescribing professions follow the work of Amelia and adopt the rules she has set forth.

Amelia finalized the new rules early at the end of this August. She has also coordinated a statewide educational effort to ensure that our communities understand how these rules will impact opioid use and misuse. 


Katie Dickeson, TB Program Coordinator, Spokane Regional Health District

Katie Dickeson serves as the coordinator for Spokane Regional Health District's Tuberculosis program. January 2018 saw the death of a woman determined to have TB as her cause of death. Katie initiated an extensive contact investigation, which involved extended families, more than three local hospitals and healthcare facilities, and many employers. And her effort ensured identification of infected individuals.

Additionally, she has been working to improve the knowledge of local healthcare about TB infection. She has offered presentations to physicians, healthcare organizations, and ancillary service providers.  Her talks have received high remarks and she has raised awareness about TB in the Spokane community.



Communicable Disease Team, Tacoma-Pierce County Health District

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Communicable Disease Team investigated two simultaneous healthcare-associated Hepatitis C outbreaks. The Communicable Disease Team established testing for over 1,000 patients for Hepatitis C and has coordinated with the CDC to find the link between cases of Hepatitis C in Pierce County. The Communicable Disease Team is helping healthcare providers improve their infection control procedures and is helping the people affected to get testing and treatment. This team has worked tirelessly for their efforts and deserves significant recognition.



Lourdes “Lou” Schmitz, Consultant, American Indian Health Commission

Lou is a strong advocate for Tribes in the public health arena, especially pertaining to public health emergency preparedness. Lou helped lead several tribal-LHJ projects to strength relationships and understanding among Tribes and LHJs and to enhance Tribal emergency preparedness. These projects include the regional Tribal mutual aid agreement project and the regional Tribal/LHJ tabletop exercises, which enhance preparedness for a public health emergency requiring mass distribution of medications. Lou is articulate, knowledgeable, and a great resource to LHJs wanting to know how they can improve their relationships with Tribes. 



Dr. Marguerite Ro, Chief of the Assessment, Policy Development, and Evaluation unit and the Director of the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Public Health – Seattle and King County

Dr. Marguerite Ro spearheaded an effort resulting in the first collaborative countywide Community Health Needs Assessment.

Her team's data-informed approach led Affordable Care Act enrollment activities to focus on neighborhoods and populations with the greatest needs, resulting in record-high coverage. Dr. Ro’s team also launched the Best Starts for Kids Health Survey which was awarded the 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Award for Outstanding Epidemiology Practice in Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities.


Also, Marguerite has served as the Deputy Director of the national Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and on advisory committees, including the CDC’s Health Disparities Subcommittee and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s Health Equity Technical Advisory Committee. Marguerite consistently shows leadership through her compassion and support to make everyone feel valued.

Dr. Scott Lindquist, State Epidemiologist for Communicable Disease, Washington State Department of Health

Dr. Scott Lindquist is the State Epidemiologist for Communicable Disease at the Washington State Department of Health. He bears ultimate responsibility for all aspects of communicable disease prevention and response in Washington State.

Dr. Lindquist’s technical knowledge of infectious disease and epidemiology methods is superb, and he works one day per week as a pediatrician for a tribal health clinic, which keeps him connected to the community and allows him to provide valuable insights into what the community needs most from the Washington State Department of Health. Scott exemplifies the best of a public health practitioner: knowledgeable, kind, interested in seeing all sides of an issue, and hard working



 Representative Strom Peterson

Peterson is the Representative of the 21st Legislative District.

 Peterson's Secure Medicine Take-Back Act was signed into law and Washington will be the first state in the nation to have drug manufacturers pay for the safe collection and disposal of unwanted and expired medication. This will help all of our communities combat the opioid crisis, reduce suicides, and prevent accidental poisonings. Also, Peterson has worked to reduce the impacts of oil transportation through Washington and works to protect Puget Sound and the Orca population. He also helps to lead the nation in banning toxic chemicals from firefighting foams and food packaging to improve overall health in Washington State.


Chairman Brian Cladoosby

 Brian Cladoosby is a Native American leader and activist. He has served as chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community since 1997 and was elected president of the National Congress of American Indians in October 2013.

Cladoosby is being recognized for his effort and success in the field of tribal economic development. He has been instrumental in the domestic and international emergence of the northwest Indian country salmon and seafood industry. Swinomish Fish Company buys and sells seafood products from tribal, national and international companies, continuing the “buy and sell native” motto of Indian Country. He works to make advances in tribal health while maintaining cultural tradition.




Representative Paul Harris

 Paul Harris is the Representative of the 17th Legislative District.

Harris's goals in Olympia are to keep tax rates low, show fiscal responsibility with the state budget, allow businesses to be productive without having to fight excessive regulations and provide a quality education for the children in the state of Washington. He is receiving his award for his work on the Tobacco-21 Legislation which would raise the legal age of tobacco from 18 to 21.