St. Louis County Board presents public health achievement awards to Ely Community Care Team, Palombi

The St. Louis County Board presented the Ely Community Care Team with a 2019 Public Health Achievment Award Tuesday. Shown L-R are Amy Westbrook, director of Public Health; Commissioner Frank Jewell, who chairs the Health and Human Service Committee, and Heidi Favet of the Ely Community Care Team.

Just as the work of Public Health covers a wide variety of health topics, so do the winners this year of the St. Louis County Public Health Achievement Awards.
The St. Louis County Board, during its meeting today in Duluth, recognized two groups and two individuals for their work to improve health in our region. Honorees this year include: Dr. Laura Palombi, the Ely Community Care Team, Dementia Friendly Duluth, and Ashley Grimm.
Dr. Palombi is a pharmacist and a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy - Duluth Campus. She does a variety of work in the area of substance abuse prevention and intervention, and has shown particular leadership in training people on how to use Naloxone (Narcan) to save people experiencing an opioid overdose. She’s also played a key role in distributing Naloxone kits in rural areas.
The Ely Community Care Team (CCT) provides a wide range of physical and mental health services, and helps address gaps in care for people living in the northeast part of the county. The CCT includes employees from Essentia Health, Ely Community Resources and Northern Lights Clubhouse, and ensures cross training so all are able to respond to a full spectrum of needs.
Dementia Friendly Duluth promotes resources available both for people experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of Dementia, and for their families/caregivers. With support from the Victory Fund, the group also has started the Age Well Memory Café and the Victory Chorus, and conducted a community needs assessment.
Ashley Grimm manages youth development programming at the Damiano Center, this includes the Kids Kitchen after-school nutrition program; and the Summer Food Corps, a program she helped design that teaches teens to grown their own food, prepare healthy meals, and how to maintain a safe and clean kitchen. She also serves on several boards/commissions to help disadvantaged people in this area.
“We are so impressed with and thankful for the work of this year’s honorees,” said Amy Westbrook, director of Public Health for St. Louis County. “We had an especially strong group of nominees this year and it really highlights the variety of health needs faced by our county residents that can only be addressed with the help of great community partners.”
The Public Health Achievement Awards are given out as part of National Public Health Week, which is April 1-7. This is the fourth year St. Louis County has presented these awards as a way to highlight the broad role of its Public Health nurses and educators, and the importance of the many partners they work with to improve the health of both individuals and larger groups as they seek to create community- or system-wide change.
The role of Public Health nurses and educators is continually changing as they identify needs and work to help both individuals one-on-one, and larger groups to create community- or system-wide change. Many of these efforts focus on the broad goal of ensuring that all people have equal opportunity to be healthy. Likewise, much of the work done by Public Health employees is in partnership with other community agencies and professionals.
St. Louis County Public Health is a division of the Public Health and Human Services Department.
Public Health nurses, nutritionists and other staff work through a variety of programs to help pregnant moms deliver healthy babies, and at-risk families to give young children a better chance at positive development.
They also help elderly clients maintain independent living, and work with community partners to address factors - such as environment, income and education level, lifestyle and genetics - that affect health and well being.
Public Health also plays a key role in disaster preparedness planning. To learn more, call (218) 725-5210 or visit