The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria presented its 2020 Community Health Awards during its 12th Annual Celebration of Excellence held virtually November 12. The awards were started in 1995 to honor individuals and organizations who promote community health in central Illinois.
2020 Community Health Award Individual Winner
Public Health Administrator, Peoria City/County Health Department
Monica has become the trusted face of the Tri-County area’s COVID-19 response. From moderating daily press briefings to her leadership in our community’s overall response to the pandemic, Monica has led collaboration and coordination of services, data collection and reporting, and spear-headed mitigation efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. She is a voice of reliable authority as well as a strong and trusted leader as our community navigates during a global pandemic.
2020 Community Health Award Organization Winner
For 125 years, Neighborhood House has provided diverse local programming to meet the needs of individuals through all life stages. Neighborhood House focuses on feeding, educating and empowering the community. In a typical year, more than 1,000 seniors in Peoria and Tazewell counties receive Meals on Wheels, and the majority of programs focus on helping the family unit out of poverty through tutoring programs for children, adult literacy, workforce preparation, financial literacy, and food pantry. They upped their game during the COVID-19 pandemic to focus on food insecurity as the local need skyrocketed. Its Meals on Wheels program added more than 500 seniors. Neighborhood House delivers meals to 235 children in their after school program. Its food pantry went from serving 45 clients bi-weekly to serving over 430 clients as well as delivering food pantry baskets to the families of children receiving meals.
“This year is an especially meaningful year for this UICOMP tradition. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and our partners in community health have worked tirelessly to guide our response, support our communities, and prepare all of us to mitigate the spread of this disease,” says Meenakshy Aiyer, MD, UICOMP interim regional dean. “We congratulate this year’s winners and thank them for their dedication and hard work.”
UICOMP sponsors these awards to recognize on-going commitment to community health promotion and/or disease prevention in our community. A healthy community requires a high quality medical system along with programs to confront and manage concerns such as livable neighborhoods, family support, job opportunities, improved educational opportunities, hunger, homelessness; and adequate systems of transportation, public safety, and crime.