Several people and organizations were recognized for their industry contributions at the 2019 Public Health Awards, presented by Westchester County Executive George Latimer and the Westchester County Board of Health on Monday, April 8 at White Plains High School.
The event is meant to celebrate National Public Health Week, which is observed from April 1 to April 7.
Stephanie Marquesano, an Ardsley mother and co-occurring mental health disorder awareness advocate, was given the Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Public Health Service Award by Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD.
“The tragic loss of her 19-year-old son, Harris, transformed Stephanie Marquesano into a passionate and persistent advocate,” said Dr. Baker. “Stephanie has worked alongside mental health professionals to promote an integrated and comprehensive treatment approach, to help other Westchester families avoid losing a son or daughter to an accidental opioid overdose. She has partnered with students, educators and the County’s Department of Community Mental Health to promote peer awareness and prevention throughout Westchester public schools.”
The Board also awarded the J.R. Tesone Youth Public Health Service Award to 18-year-old Jack Waxman of Scarsdale for his promotion of the dangers of vaping. Waxman appeared on Good Morning America for his powerful video on the dangers of vaping, bringing national attention to the growing health concern. He also worked behind the scenes to advocate for stricter regulations of vaping products in an effort to curb teen vaping rates.
“We are fortunate in Westchester to have so many talented professionals, parents and young people volunteering their time to improve the health of our community,” said Latimer. “I congratulate each of these individuals who have accomplished so much on behalf of our veterans, the disadvantaged and our young people. I encourage other residents to follow their inspiring example.”
Four Public Health Honorees were also recognized at the awards:
- Glenn Albright, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist from Bedford who directs the Veterans Equine Therapy Program at Bedford’s 13 Hands Equine Rescue
- Abe Baker-Butler, a 17-year-old Rye Brook resident, leader and peer educator of student-led nonprofit organization Students Against Nicotine and Tobacco 21 legislation advocate
- Shauna Porteus of Irvington, the Community Services Librarian at the Yonkers Public Library and grant organizer for the library’s case management program, which links patrons to needed services like jobs, healthcare, housing and governmental programs
- WJCS Center Lane, the County’s only LGBTQ+ youth and community education center, which serves people ages 13 to 21 and provides social and recreational activities, support, counseling, advocacy and leadership training
“Improving public health takes creativity, commitment and collaboration,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “We are grateful to all our honorees and to all our non-profit partners for enhancing and supporting the Health Department’s mission of promoting and protecting public health.”
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