Verdant recognizes community programs, services for good work

The Verdant Health Commission issued four awards to community members and organizations at the Verdant Healthier Community Conference on Monday, Feb. 27 in Lynnwood.
The awards are:

  • Outstanding Community Advocate Award, Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Snohomish Health District
  • Innovative Program Award, Office of Neighborhoods at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Community Health and Safety Section of the Lynnwood Police Department
  • Service to Our Community Award, Latino Educational Training Institute
  • Community Collaboration Award, University of Washington Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies

Verdant Superintendent Dr. Robin Fenn presented the awards and shared that the work taking place to support the South Snohomish County community’s health is happening through many partnerships and collaborations.

“We are very fortunate to have such gracious and willing partners in our community,” said Fenn. “Much of the good work taking place is happening because these partners are listening to the community, responding to what they hear, and finding opportunities to collaborate. We are excited to recognize just a few examples of this work through these awards.”

Outstanding Community Advocate Award

Dr. Gary Goldbaum, the Snohomish Health District’s director and health officer, received the advocacy award, which was created to recognize individuals who work in support of others to address a health need in our community. The honorees identify a need in the community and work to highlight positive change.

Goldbaum has worked tirelessly to improve the health of us all, Fenn said, and most recently was instrumental in creating the county’s Drug Take-Back program, which provides more locations for people to drop off unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications that can pose a risk to themselves, their family, and the community. He also has pushed to increase the number of healthcare providers who are willing to prescribe suboxone, a treatment for addiction, and he spearheaded a program that connects the emergency departments in county hospitals with the health district to help overdose patients get the help and treatment they need. Recognizing that there are many points at which the opioid and heroin use problem in our county can and should be addressed, his work has brought attention and action to the system as a whole, making him very deserving of the Outstanding Community Advocate Award, Fenn said.

Innovative Program Award

This award was given to two programs this year: the Office of Neighborhoods at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Community Health and Safety Section of the Lynnwood Police Department. The award is given to organizations that bring new and creative ideas to health programming, trying something different in an effort to impact health in ways they have not attempted before.

These recipients are working to engage residents above and beyond the traditional emergency response approach, Fenn said. The Sheriff’s Office team, led by Sgt. Ian Huri who accepted the award, has enacted homeless outreach efforts and community partnerships. The Office of Neighborhoods also runs the You Are Not Alone program, supporting older adults who live in isolation by utilizing volunteers to make telephone calls and home visits. Similarly, Lynnwood Police’s Community Health & Safety Section, with Sgt. Cole Langdon leading the team and accepting the award, has engaged Lynnwood’s homeless population in partnership with the YWCA and Volunteers of America’s North Sound 2-1-1. The team, and notably Sgt. Langdon, really connect with people who are often resistant to help, Fenn said.

Both law enforcement jurisdictions have used innovative strategies to address community needs within the vulnerable and homeless populations, and Verdant is pleased to honor their work with the Innovative Program Award, Fenn said.

Service to Our Community Award

The Latino Education & Training Institute is the winner of the service award, which goes to individuals or organizations who go above and beyond in service to others, working to support the health and well-being of other people and/or organizations in our community. The recipients of this award are striving to make the community better, one person at a time.

The Lynnwood-based Latino Education & Training Institute (LETI), represented by board member Diana Morelli who accepted the award, has led programs working to address social determinants of health, including how income, housing, and education levels have an impact on our health. A recent program called the Latino Leadership Initiative in particular is showing promise in these areas and is deserving of this service award, Fenn said. The initiative encourages college-age students to assume leadership in projects designed to increase high school graduation, promote college completion, and support the pursuit of success and achievement among Latino professionals. Success in these areas will result in strides forward for these individuals and their families, which can lead to improved health status and a stronger community, Fenn said.

Community Collaboration Award

The University of Washington Bothell’s School of Nursing and Health Studies is the recipient of the collaboration award, given to organizations that partner with others to be responsive to our community’s health needs. They recognize that more can be accomplished by working with others, creating unique partnerships that make their work more effective and efficient.

The work done by the UW Bothell is not taking place in an ivory tower, as is the picture that comes to mind for some when they think of university work, Fenn said. Dean and Professor of the School of Nursing and Health Studies David Allen and his team have created a program in which students and faculty actively engage with the community. Hundreds of students have completed fieldwork in partnership with community organizations like the Everett Gospel Mission, Compass Health, Senior Services of Snohomish County, and first responders, to name a few. The students contribute in areas the organizations may be lacking, often bringing research and analysis to the community project or program, Fenn said. Allen, who is retiring as dean this year, accepted the award on the school’s behalf.


The Feb. 27 Verdant Healthier Community Conference drew approximately 275 people. This second-annual event is brought to South Snohomish County by the Verdant Health Commission, with support from: Premera Blue Cross, Swedish Edmonds, The Everett Clinic, Harbor Square Athletic Club, Community Transit, Edmonds Community College, Foster Pepper, The Herald Media, Molina Healthcare, Pacific Art Press, and Puget Sound Kidney Centers.