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Maine-Based Public Health Organization Names 2018 Leadership Award Winners

Environmental Health Strategy Center
10.31.2018
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News Releases

Awards go to an internationally renowned children’s health expert and, from Maine, a Monmouth-based advocate, Downeast community organization, and Falmouth-based entrepreneur

PORTLAND, Maine, October 31, 2018—A sustainable business entrepreneur, an internationally renowned public health expert, a community organization working for a more inclusive Downeast Maine, and a longtime Maine advocate for public health and the environment will receive leadership awards next month from the Environmental Health Strategy Center. 

"These incredible leaders for healthy families and healthy communities are changing the world,” said Ryan Bouldin, chair of the Environmental Health Strategy Center’s Board of Directors. “These awards recognize their invaluable contributions that move us forward as a society toward a healthier, more sustainable future.”

The Environmental Health Strategy is a Portland-based public health organization fighting for safe food and water, toxic-free products, and good green jobs that keep families healthy. 

The awards will be presented at the 2018 Celebration for Our Healthy Future starting at 6 p.m., Friday, November 29 at Temple Bet Ha’am at 81 Westbrook Street in South Portland.

The celebration will feature a keynote address from Dr. Ami Zota of George Washington University, a public health researcher recognized for her work on toxic chemicals in food and her environmental justice advocacy. The event with full buffet and cash bar will also include a short film on making change in Maine.

Tickets for the Celebration are $25 for adults, $15 for students and elected officials. Adjacent parking is free. Buy tickets at ourhealthyfuture.org or call (207) 699-5789.

The annual awards and winners are:

Ginger Jordan-Hillier of Monmouth is receiving the Frank Hatch Environmental Health Leadership Award in recognition of her legacy as an organizer and advocate for environmental health. With her knowledge of the inner workings of state government, strong organizational skills, optimism and energy, Jordan-Hillier was a leader in the Strategy Center’s efforts to pass a first-in-the-nation law, the Kid's Safe Products Act in 2008. It authorizes the state of Maine to require manufacturers use safer alternatives to the most dangerous chemicals in children's products.

"It's been said that we should never underestimate the ability of committed, passionate people, with a good idea, to come together, inspire others and grow their idea into action and change,” said Jordan-Hillier. “I know this is possible because successfully organizing for change is something I've been privileged to be part of for four decades.”

“Ginger Jordan-Hillier was the best organizer inside of state government that I’ve ever known, bar none,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of Environmental Health Strategy Center and Prevent Harm. “In Maine, Ginger raised awareness and mobilized state agency leadership to support and implement the landmark Kid Safe Products Act. Nationally, she organized like-minded agencies in multiple states to speak with a united voice in favor of toxic-free products. Ginger is the classic hero who works behind-the-scenes, the hallmark of a great organizer, who at long last deserves public recognition.” 

The Frank Hatch Environmental Health Leadership Award pays tribute to Frank Hatch (1925-2010), an extraordinary public servant, activist, philanthropist, and longtime resident of Castine whose achievements are a source of inspiration about the power of public engagement and advocacy.  

Dr. Leonardo Trasande, M.D., M.P.P., of New York, New York is receiving the Bettie Kettell Award for Medical-Professional Leadership, for his groundbreaking research at New York University and leadership at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to publicly highlight how toxic chemicals commonly found in food are harming children’s health.

“I’m grateful to have supported efforts by the American Academy of Pediatrics to identify serious hazards posed by chemicals added to food and inadvertently contaminating them,” said Dr. Trasande. “In the spirit of Bettie Kettell, it’s crucial that health care providers play their leadership role in prescribing health protections for populations as much for individual patients.”

The Bettie Kettell Award for Medical-Professional Leadership goes to a nurse, physician, or other health professional who embodies the spirit of Bettie Cornise Detjen Kettell, R.N. (1947-2015), an operating-room nurse for more than 40 years and longtime resident of Durham whose outstanding leadership, compassion, intelligence, and insight made her a fierce advocate for environmental health in Maine and nationally. 

Mano en Manoa community organization based in Washington County that works with farmworkers and immigrants to settle and thrive in Maine, is receiving the Grassroots Leadership Award for its invaluable work with community leaders to build a more inclusive, stronger, and healthier Maine.

"What makes Mano en Mano unique is that we are community-led and community-driven," said Christina Ocampo, program director at Mano en Mano. "We take direction and vision from the communities that we work with, working with community leaders to address the issues that affect them while building the community that they want to live in. That work is often invisible, and can be slow and incremental, and it's rewarding to see our community leaders recognized for that work."

The Grassroots Leadership Award is given to a leader or group whose exceptional and often courageous grassroots leadership has empowered community members to create positive change for environmental health. Grassroots leaders are the backbone of our movement.  

Kai Smith, an entrepreneur based in Falmouth, is receiving the Business Leadership Award for founding Maine Coasters & Bio-Boards, an innovative, sustainably minded business that will bring good green jobs to Maine communities.

“I am thrilled to receive the Business Leadership Award from the Environmental Health Strategy Center,” said Smith. “Receiving this award demonstrates that unique concepts, and products, which promote social and environmental goals, can lead to successful business opportunities and markets for growth.”

The Business Leadership Award recognizes a business whose actions demonstrate sustainable, innovative business practices that set a precedent for businesses and communities to follow in supporting the health of individuals, families, the public, and the planet. 

The annual Celebration for Our Healthy Future is sponsored by Trillium Asset Management, Bangor Savings Bank, Clark Insurance, Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Maine Magazine, Congregation Bet Ha’am, Biobased Maine, Maine Public Health Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Maine Chapter, Sierra Club Maine, and Toxics Action Center. 

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The Environmental Health Strategy Center works for a world where all people are healthy and thriving in a fair and healthy economy. We protect public health by fighting for safe food and drinking water, toxic-free products, and good green manufacturing jobs.