WSPHA 2020 Award Recipients

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


Public Health Leadership Award

Elizabeth 'Tizzy' Bennett

Elizabeth “Tizzy” Bennett has been a public health leader for over 25 years. She has a Master's in Public Health and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist. Tizzy has made significant contributions in pediatric injury prevention research, education, and advocacy during her career at Seattle Children’s Hospital which has lasted 38 years. She's contributed to Washington State's national recognition for being a leader in drowning prevention by partnering with organizations throughout the State to keep families safe in and around water, researching what factors lead to child and teen drownings, and developing programs to reduce drowning risk and prevent drowning. She’s co-led the Washington State Drowning Prevention Network since its establishment in 1994. Additionally, Tizzy has co-authored nearly 50 publications in the areas of health education and diversity, child passenger safety, drowning prevention, safe firearm storage, and hand hygiene. She consistently exemplifies integrity, excellence, and compassion in her work, and strives for cultural humility and inclusivity. 



Public Health Excellence Award

Dr. Juana Royster, PhD

Dr. Juana Royster has had a long and impressive career, spanning decades, and she shows no signs of stopping. Dr. Royster's accomplishments and contributions to public health, community and higher education include establishing longtime partnerships between WSU Extension, 4-H, and the community to promote healthy eating, especially among youth of color; teaching weekly Diabetes, Health & Nutrition workshops to older adults, primarily people of color, at the Central Area Senior Center for 20+ years; teaching classes on nutrition and health at Rutgers, CWU, Florida A&M, and WSU; being a founding member of and serving on the Kidney Health Fest for African American Families planning committee for 12 years; advising multiple organizations including Hope Heart, Center for Multicultural Health, Northwest Kidney Centers, and many others on designing nutrition materials and programs to more effectively reach communities of color; providing healthy cooking demos for people with diabetes and high blood pressure; working with the disabled community to create food and nutrition classes that met their needs; and teaching classes on health, nutrition, hygiene and self-esteem to prison inmates at the WA Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor. 


Exceptional Student Award

Esther Solano, University of Washington 

Esther graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors in Public Health-Global Health with Honors in June 2020. She was known for not only her kindness and advocacy of marginalized populations, but for also being a very active participant in class discussions, and an excellent student. For her culminating undergraduate experience, she worked with the WA State Department of Health where she collaborated with students of different backgrounds to develop recommendations for alternative communication channels in minority groups in Washington state. The goal was to conduct life-history interviews with family members to see which methods of media are needed to disseminate COVID-19 information. In addition to her scholarship, public health experience, and drive to succeed, Esther also uses her lived experience as motivation to do better for vulnerable communities. This is evidenced by her work at the Injury-Related Health Equity Across the Lifespan (iHeal) Study which is a research project aimed at understanding trauma patient perspectives on personal data collection in the hospital. She is a strong advocate and has the will power to do what it takes to change the public health system to better serve vulnerable populations.


WSPHA President's Award

John Wiesman, Washington State Secretary of Heath
The 2020 President’s award recognizes John Wiesman for his dedication and leadership to WSPHA and to public health in Washington State as the Washington State Secretary of Health. John was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee and joined the Department of Health in April 2013. He’s an accomplished transformational leader with more than 22 years of local public health experience and focuses on whole systems approaches to improving health. John has been passionate about public health since reading a 1983 Time magazine article about disease detectives tracking Legionnaires’ disease, toxic shock syndrome, and HIV. It was the impetus for him to enter the profession. During his career John has transformed health departments from providing individual clinical services to implementing policy, system and environmental changes promoting prevention that make healthy choices easier and less expensive; transformed Clark County Public Health and the Department of Health into first responder organizations; helped lead Washington State’s initiatives to transform the health delivery system to improve population health, known as Healthier Washington, among many other accomplishments. Washington State has been so grateful for his contributions to public health as Secretary of Health. 

Kathy Lofy, Washington State Health Officer


Public Health Elected Official Awards

This year, WSPHA has decided to honor Rep. June Robinson and Rep. Laurie Jinkins for their continued outstanding contributions to public health in Washington state. WSPHA is thrilled to announce the Laurie Jinkins Public Health Champion Award and the June Robinson Public Health Funding Award as the new awards for public health elected officials.

Laurie Jinkins Public Health Champion Awards

Senator Mona Das, Washington State Senate
Mona came to the United States when she was eight months old and spent her childhood moving around due to her father’s job, living in eight states and three countries. She finally settled down in Kent, where she currently lives, and is extremely proud to call the 47th legislative district home. She has centered her career around sustainable development, equal access to housing, and empowering marginalized voices. Elected to the Washington State Senate in 2018, Mona now serves as the vice chair of the Senate Housing Affordability & Stability Committee, and as a member of the Senate Transportation Committee; the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee; and the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee. During her first year as an elected official, Mona worked tirelessly on behalf of the environment, affordable housing, and equity and inclusion. 



Senator John McCoy, Washington State Senate
Longtime Washington lawmaker and Democratic state Sen. John McCoy announced his retirement this year. McCoy, from Tulalip and represents Snohomish County’s 38th legislative district, was the chamber’s only Native American legislator, according to the Senate Majority Leader’s Office. He was a strong advocate for marginalized and disenfranchised Washingtonians, expanded access to and the quality of education and health care, and lifted up the voices of sovereign tribal communities in Washington State. Additionally, he lead efforts to improve dental care in Native communities, eliminate barriers to voting, increased broadband access for rural areas, and was a relentless champion for clean water. First elected to the House in 2002, McCoy spent five terms there before being appointed to the Senate in 2013. Voters elected him to that position in 2014 and 2018. And since 2016, McCoy has held a leadership role, serving as the Senate Democratic caucus chair. We wish him a happy retirement!  



Representative Laurie Davis, Washington House of Representatives
Lauren Davis grew up in King County and is a proud product of the public school system. She championed HB 1713, named “Ricky’s Law,” which was signed by Governor Inslee in 2016. The legislation created an involuntary crisis commitment system for youth and adults with life-threatening addiction. Ricky’s Law represents one of the largest single investments in addiction treatment in Washington state history. It was during those long days at the capitol advocating for Ricky’s Law that women lawmakers began asking Lauren to run for office. The heartache of Ricky’s suffering propelled Lauren to leave her international development career and help launch a start-up suicide prevention nonprofit called Forefront. At Forefront, Lauren directed school and campus-based mental health and suicide prevention programs, working directly with high schools across King County and colleges across the state. She also serves on the Public Policy Committee for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Washington State and served for many years on King County’s Behavioral Health Advisory Board. She is a strong champion for mental health and addiction recovery, strengthening our schools, reforming the criminal justice system, and affordable housing


June Robinson Public Health Funding Awards

Representative Drew Stokesbary, Washington House of Representatives
Rep. Drew Stokesbary was born and raised in Washington state. He has served as State Representative for three terms. In the Legislature, he serves on two standing committees, the Appropriations Committee and Finance Committee . During his second term, he was elected into caucus leadership and rose to become the Minority Floor Leader. Prior to his third term, he was named the Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee. He also sits on several outside committees, including the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee, the Select Committee on Pension Policy, the Caseload Forecast Council, the Pension Funding Council, the Expenditure Limit Committee, and the Joint Committee on Employment Relations. Stokesbary has taken the lead on budget issues for House Republicans, and provided vital leadership in crafting the Legislature’s decision to spend $200 million from reserve funds fighting the coronavirus outbreak.


Representative Marcus Riccelli, Washington House of Representatives 
Born and raised in Spokane, Representative Marcus Riccelli graduated from Gonzaga University with a Bachelors of Business Administration, and from the University of Washington with a Masters of Public Administration. Elected to the state legislature in 2012, Marcus serves on the Health Care & Wellness Committee, which he vice-chaired for three years, as well as on the Capital Budget, Transportation, and Rules committees. He has worked to make the Affordable Care Act a success in Washington, to improve health care delivery, and to build support for measures that will reduce the cost of care for many people in our community. Additionally, he championed successful initiatives to improve access, coverage, and timeliness of newborn and developmental/autism screenings as well as secured funding and passed legislation to improve mental health care and substance abuse treatment. He has also been an adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University’s College of Health Science and Public Health.


Senator David Frockt, Washington State Senate 

In the decade he has served in the Washington State Legislature, David Frockt has been a champion for improved health care, accessible higher education, a clean environment, and firearm responsibility. David currently serves as vice chair of the Ways & Means Committee and on the Health & Long Term Care Committee. He has championed strong investments in projects to alleviate homelessness, increase access to behavioral health services, and build strong communities throughout Washington State. He carried an important state investment for the Meridian Center for Health in North Seattle which provides primary, dental and behavioral health services to the low-income population. David has been an active member of the Senate’s Health Care Committee for many years. In 2019, David successfully sponsored a bill creating Cascade Care, the first state-based “public option” for health insurance available in the United States.