Two SRHD Staff Members Are Honored with Awards from Vanessa Behan
Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) has extremely dedicated staff who are always working to create a healthier community. Often some of the most important work goes on behind the scenes. Recently, however, two of our staff received awards of recognition from Vanessa Behan, an organization that provides safety and resources for our community’s children and families. Erin Whitehead, epidemiologist, was presented the Heart of Gold award and Jennifer Hansen, health program specialist, was recognized as the Child Advocate of the Year. Here’s what Amy Knapton Vega, executive director of Vanessa Behan, had to say about Erin receiving the Heart of Gold award.
At left: Amy Knapton Vega, Executive Director at Vanessa Behan. At right: Erin Whitehead, Epidemiologist at Spokane Regional Health District with her Heart of Gold award.
“Erin is receiving our Heart of Gold award that is given to those that go above and beyond to help Vanessa Behan. We would not have survived this pandemic if it were not for Erin. While I am certain everyone is working equally as hard, Erin may have gotten the short straw when she was assigned to Vanessa Behan. As an agency that operates 24/7, the calls and emails were constant. Erin graciously answered every call, email and plea quickly and thoroughly. It didn’t matter if it was the weekend, holiday or in her own recovery from the vaccine, she answered. Her information was comprehensive, and she often consulted on the odd situations and got back to us quickly. We are so grateful to the entire SRHD COVID response teams, but Erin stands out for her dedication to our staff, children and their parents.”
Amy had this to share about their motivation for choosing Jennifer as Child Advocate of the Year.
“The Child Advocate of the Year award is presented to someone that works tirelessly in the community to support a variety of efforts around the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Jennifer Hansen was selected for her work in numerous areas. Jennifer seeks out opportunities to partner on projects that promote the wellbeing of children and families. She, along with her team and the Our kids: Our business Coalition worked together to develop Project Pinwheel - a resource for the community to learn about a child’s brain development and how everyone has a role to support children and parents. Jennifer also worked with NEWESD 101, and the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition to bring the “Handle with Care” initiative to Spokane Public Schools and the Spokane Police Department. “Handle with Care” notifications are now sent by the Spokane Police Department to Spokane Public school staff to alert them that a child was present at a traumatic event and should be monitored for behavior changes and offered support as needed. Jennifer is an active member of the Our kids: Our business Coalition, eager to assist with projects and event planning. Always trying to keep a spotlight on kids and support parents, Jennifer worked with the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition to include ways for employers to support parents in the “End the Violence Employer Toolkit.” Her dedication to the children of our community is seen and felt by all that are fortunate enough to cross her path.”
Jennifer Hansen, Health Program Specialist at Spokane Regional Health District with her Child Advocate of the Year award.
Erin and Jennifer exemplify the mission of SRHD as leaders and partners in public health by protecting, improving, and promoting the health and well-being of all people through evidence-based practices. We are excited to let the light shine on these two well-deserving recipients and are grateful to have such dedicated members on our team.