The Fitzsimmons Awards for Excellence in Public Health have been awarded to five individuals and a non-profit organization this year. The award’s namesake, Dr. Williams Fitzsimmons, was Oak Park’s Health Department’s Medical Consultant for 16 years and was known for being not only a physician but a humanitarian as well. Each year, the award is given to those who have contributed to the health and wellness of Oak Park residents.
Registered Nurse Harriet Hawkins was recognized for her service as a volunteer for Housing Forward in Oak Park providing medical care to those experiencing homelessness. Hawkins has been volunteering with Housing Forward for 22 years and routinely donates supplies and medical equipment along with her time and expertise. She has made the health of shelter clients her priority.
Dr. Sanjeed Dwivedi of Presence Behavioral Health was honored with an award for his dedication to the care of adolescents that were a part of Anne’s House, a program for sexually exploited girls in Oak Park. The program has since ended, but Dr. Dwivedi has continued to coordinate care for some of the girls who participated in the program. He is known for doing all he can to help his patients thrive.
Three other individuals in Oak Park were also given The Fitzsimmons Award for Excellence in Public health. Dr. Mary Ann Bender of Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce Health and Wellness was given the award for her work bringing health and wellness providers together in the Oak Park community. Candice Martin of Strive for Success received the award for her role in improving the health for students and their families through her position as the care coordinator. Andrea Rossi, the Hatch Elementary School’s nurse, was recognized for putting students’ needs first while also serving as team leader for all of the District 97 nurses.
In addition to the individuals who were celebrated for their work in public health, the award was also given to the West Cook YMCA. The local YMCA has developed programs focused on health and wellness across the community and has made a clear priority of improving the health of Oak Park residents.
Congratulations to all of the winners of this prestigious award! You all make our community healthier, happier, and safer.