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The Westchester County Board of Health is now seeking nominations for the 2021 Public Health Service Awards. The Board wants to recognize adults, young people and not-for-profit programs whose volunteer efforts have demonstrated creativity and compassion in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and who helped improve public health in Westchester.

The Board encourages community leaders, healthcare professionals, educators and residents to nominate worthy people or programs by Feb. 9 using the nomination forms at www.westchestergov.com/health.

Westchester County Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD said: “Adults, teenagers and organizations have stepped up in unprecedented ways to help others during the public health crisis we are experiencing. This year, the Board wants to shine a light on Covid-related volunteerism. By recognizing these extraordinary people and programs, we hope to inspire others to join our efforts to promote and protect public health in Westchester.”

The Dr Harold Keltz Distinguished Public Health Service Award is presented annually to a person or community-based organization, whose efforts have made an extraordinary contribution to the public health of Westchester residents but who is not professionally engaged in public health work.

The J.R. Tesone Youth Public Health Service Award is an annual award to a student up to age 21 for his or her creative contribution to public health in Westchester. The award was created in 2014 in memory of J.R. Tesone, a Board of Health member with a lifelong commitment to Westchester children.

The Board also will highlight the compassion, creativity and commitment demonstrated by a select group of nominees, who will be named Public Health Honorees.

These awards will be announced and presented in April to spotlight National Public Health Week, and the honorees and their achievements will be featured on the health department’s web pages. Recent youthful winners have promoted youth awareness of the dangers of vaping, advocated for restrictions on tobacco sales, promoted awareness of the opioid crisis on campus or increased sustainability and Earth Day programming, advocated for children affected by cancer or created an app to foster communication between teens with Type 1 diabetes. Adult volunteers were recognized recently for promoting awareness of mental health and addiction among young people, promoting the construction and preservation of affordable housing and advocating for comprehensive mental health care for low-income residents. Non-profit programs also have been selected for their work to reduce health disparities, improve health literacy, and improve access to care.