RWJF Culture of Health Award Winners

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The Well Connected Communities initiative recently presented three Culture of Health awards to one youth volunteer, an adult volunteer, and a Land Grant University that have been leaders in healthy living programming in their communities. Award nominations were solicited from across the entire Land Grant University System. The work being recognized has a focus on health equity and inclusion, addresses one or more of the social determinants of health, and successfully engages in youth-adult partnerships.
The awards are made possible with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as part of the Well Connected Communities initiative. Monica Hobbs Vinluan, Senior Program Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presented the awards.

Picture of four women receiving an award.
Land Grant University Award: University of Arizona Monica Hobbs Vinluan, Leza Carter, Elizabeth Sparks, and Natalie Shepp


Land Grant University: University of Arizona represented by Elizabeth Sparks, Leza Carter, and Natalie Shepp.
In January 2017, Tucson Village Farm initiated an innovative partnership between the farm, the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, and El Rio Health Centers. The result is the FARMacy program, a ground-breaking prevention program designed to facilitate the connection between health and nutrition within the most vulnerable and underserved members of the community, and those at highest risk for childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other nutrition-related diseases.




Two women receiving an award
Adult Volunteer Award: Jacqueline Rhode, SD Jacqueline Rhode and Monica Hobbs Vinluan


Adult Volunteer: Jacqueline “Jackie” Rhode, SD
Jackie Rhode is an enrolled member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, serves as the Community Champion for the newly formed Crow Creek Community Wellness Coalition. Jackie has assisted a local school with Smarter Lunchrooms, a program to encourage healthy choices. Some of the makeover included fruit basket stands, fruit diffuser water coolers and new painted areas.





Two women receiving an award.
Youth Volunteer Award: Pearl Daskam, MI Pearl Daskam and Monica Hobbs Vinluan



Youth Volunteer: Pearl Daskam, 16-year-old from Ubly, MI
Pearl Daskam is the co-founder of a project called “Meating” the Need for Our Village.
This project is the result of a group of then 12-year-old youth observing a need in their community: a lack of protein options at the local food pantry. Even though they were too young to drive, and did not have jobs, they did know how to grow food. After volunteering in the local food pantry, the youth decided to start raising chickens and donating the meat to the food pantry. They added milk and eggs as additional sources of protein.