Driscoll of East Grand Forks, Nord's Pharmacy of Fosston also recognized.

Every spring, Polk County Public Health celebrates public health and renews its commitment to promoting health, and a big part of that process is recognizing “Public Health Champions” each spring.  

This year’s Public Health Champions are Gina Gunderson, Suraya Driscoll, Darcey Larsen, and Nord’s Pharmacy and Gifts.

People often do not understand what public health is, much less how it impacts their daily lives. Public health affects everyone on a daily basis as we are only as healthy as the communities and world we live in.

In order to improve and promote population health PCPH uses innovative solutions that advance collaboration among many local partners. Polk County Public Health is grateful to have many individuals who volunteer their time, skills, and abilities to promote healthy communities.  These individuals advocate for improvement and expansion of public health in their families, schools, workplaces and communities. PCPH’s 2019 Champions have done that, and more.

• Gina Gunderson, Crookston School District - School Readiness/ECFE staff  -Parent Educator: Gina Gunderson has been a longtime supporter of PH and healthier choices throughout the lifespan.  She is a Kids at Castle Committee member and a supporter of healthy and active lifestyles. Recently, Gina has been an active partner with the development and implementation of the Birth to 8 Initiative through WIC services at Polk County Public Health.  The collaboration is one part of a larger strategy to better align public support efforts for families.  With consents obtained by WIC, Gina receives the contact information for families residing in the Crookston School district and can make a personal connection with the family and continue to follow-up with information on early childhood services and screening. Gina is the Crookston Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) coordinator and Crookston Early Childhood Summit committee member.

• Suraya Driscoll- East Grand Forks School District, Director of Teaching and Learning: Looking at what impacts health, Suraya Driscoll has shown dedication, passion, creativity and perseverance to improve the lives of not only her students but the community in which they live. Taking an active role, Suraya has been a convener of people and resources in the city of East Grand Forks searching for strategies and financial opportunities to improve the lives of all, especially those experiencing inequities.

• Darcey Larsen, RD, RiverView Health: Darcey has been instrumental in RiverView Health’s efforts to reduce obesity and encourage healthy choices through education and support groups. What began with one series of Prevent Type 2 Diabetes classes, has now expanded to offer classes in Crookston, Fertile, and East Grand Forks. Alongside PH and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, Darcey helped implement the ‘Farmacy Farmer’s Market Voucher Program” within her Prevent Type 2 Diabetes classes, helping make local healthy foods more available to participants. Darcey is passionate about the work that she does, and she genuinely cares about everyone she encounters. Darcey also plays an active role in RiverView’s Employee wellness committee.  Darcey actively advocates for community health choices at a local and state level and is a willing partner to attend regional and state meetings alongside public health. 

• Nord’s Pharmacy and Gifts, Fosston: Their words and actions exhibit their caring demeanor about promoting health and wellness for Fosston residents and the surrounding area. They have free vitamins for children, support their local food shelf, promote vaccine awareness, actively participate in community health initiatives and go above and beyond to take care of people in their pharmacy – and across the community.  As an active member in the Statewide Health Improvement Partnerships Healthier Fosston local advisory group, Nord’s has helped to make changes within the community to make healthy choices easier.