|Heitkamp honored for outstanding service|
Heidi Heitkamp, a consultant and lawyer in Mandan, received the North Dakota Public Health Association’s 2009 Outstanding Service Award.
This award honors an individual who has exhibited continued excellence in the field of public health.
While serving as North Dakota’s Attorney General, one of Heitkamp’s greatest achievements was the lawsuit filed against the nation’s largest tobacco companies. She helped to spearhead the campaign to hold the tobacco companies responsible for their actions. The campaign was successful in obtaining large settlements for each state to use for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. North Dakota obtained increased funding based on the amount of work done by Heitkamp. She led the movement to dedicate these payments to tobacco prevention through an initiated measure. Heitkamp then moved into advocating for the measure and educating the public on the effect these dollars will have on the health of North Dakotans. She donated countless hours of her own time, many dollars in travel costs and even funded some of the hard costs of the education campaign out of her own pocket.
The award is presented annually as part of the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health, which is facilitated by the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine and Health Sciences. This year’s conference, scheduled for April 1–3 in Mandan, was canceled because many of the conference’s participants were providing support during the statewide emergency from flooding and severe weather.
The Dakota Conference is a joint effort by Altru Health System of Grand Forks; North Dakota Public Health Association; North Dakota Rural Health Association; UND College of Nursing; and the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Center for Rural Health and Department of Family and Community Medicine.
-- Denis F. MacLeod, Communications Specialist, Center for Rural Health, email@example.com, 701-777-3300