November 13, 2012
Claire Smith, 608-266-1683

Polk County Public Health Officer Wins National Award

Gretchen Sampson Receives Top Honor from American Public Health Association

MADISON-Wisconsin Division of Public Health officials confirmed today that Gretchen Sampson, Polk County Public Health Officer, was awarded the 2012 Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Local Public Health Work from the American Public Health Association (APHA).

"Gretchen Sampson's vision, energy and commitment have shown us what can be achieved in public health," said Karen McKeown, Division of Public Health Administrator. "We have benefitted greatly from her accomplishments in Polk County, and her service to all Wisconsin residents."

Sampson has worked in public health in Polk County for more than 30 years. Her nomination letter from the Department of Health Services cites her work in developing local coalitions, partnerships and collaborations to encourage resource sharing; her efforts to increase voluntary accreditation of local and tribal health departments; and her leadership in organizing an annual state public health nursing conference.

The prize, which honors a local county or city health officer for outstanding and innovative public health work, was awarded at the 2012 APHA national conference in San Francisco, California. Sampson received an honorarium, an engraved plaque and airfare to the conference. APHA officials said Sampson's work "impacted public health practice far beyond the borders of Polk County."

The American Public Health Association represents a wide range of health professionals involved in community-based health promotion, disease prevention activities and preventive health services.