Multnomah County celebrates 2023 Employee Recognition Awards

May 19, 2023

​​​​​​As part of Public Service Recognition Week, Multnomah County held its annual Employee Recognition Awards on Thursday, May 11. This year Multnomah County received 120 submissions, and nine awards were presented to a variety of individuals and teams. A recording of the ceremony can be viewed on the County's Youtube channel. 

The Diversity and Cultural Competency Award: Public Health - Fish Consumption Outreach and Engagement, Health Dept.
Scott Moshier, Beth Poteet, Beth Appert, Jennie Brixey, Chi Bui, Irina Klimenko, Water Berry and Ahmed Alzubidi, Susanna Nor-Ashkarian

The Fish Consumption Outreach and Engagement program communicated and connected with fisher communities on the Lower Willamette River to address the public health challenge of exposure to high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from eating contaminated fish and shellfish from the Lower Willamette River. The target populations were Asian American, Black/African American and African immigrants, Indigenous/Native American, Latinx, Pacific islander, and Slavic and Eastern European communities.

Multnomah County Health Department's environmental justice-based approach recognizes the many ways that decades of race-based practices and policies have unfairly impacted communities of color — those most impacted by the public health advisory of eating contaminated fish.

Public Health - Fish Consumption Outreach and Engagement

The Diversity and Cultural Competency AwardIsabel Villarreal Stewart, Library

Isabel champions diversity in the community and the Multnomah County Library system by creating engaging, immersive, educational and culturally relevant displays. She always leads with an equity lens and is very thoughtful about the needs of our community. She highlights our collection and library resources, as well as local resources for patrons' benefit. Her work is centered around creating a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for patrons and staff alike, and creates content for our diverse community. The monthly displays she creates go above and beyond by providing representation for marginalized communities.

Isabel Villarreal Stewart, Library

The Employee Innovation Award: Stabilization and Readiness Program, DCJ 
John McVay, Molly Dorney, Patrick Mayhew, Heather Otis, Lonnie Nettles, Angela Christenson, Karen Rhein

The Multnomah County Department of Community Justice’s Mental Health Unit recently launched a pilot program designed to improve access to treatment and other services for people involved in the justice system who struggle with behavioral health challenges. The new program focuses on first providing stability, then encouraging participants to engage in treatment and services. At the same time, participants learn the skills that will help them achieve success as they access those services. The pilot program can serve up to 40 participants at a time — staffed by parole and probation officers, case managers, community health specialists among other county partners. 

Stabilization and Readiness Program, DCJ

The Outstanding Team Award: Call-Center, Immunization and Mpox Response Teams, Health and DCHS
Jan Acebo, Fardosa Anahata, Samuel Aquino Pogue, Josh Arevalo, Ermias Asfaw, Adrian Austin-King, Julie Baird, Russell Barlow, Alicia Barmettler, Angelica Barron, Diego Basabe, Katie Beaumont, Cheri Becerra, Bill Berry, Tara Bowen-Biggs,  Jazmine Bowles, Jamiel Brown, Jade Budden, Yude Cano-Mendoza, Marissa Csanyi, Jennie Cuddeback, David Cuevas, Jessica Dadds, Fern Dalton, Austin Delos Santos, Mariah Denman, E Dominguez, EJ Dove, Teresa Everson, Lisa Ferguson, Marta Fisher, Jennifer Foreman, Molly Franks, Dominique Fuller, Bob Gantz, Jonah Grahek, Amy Gredler, Melissa Greeney, Irina Grigorov, Vicki Grist, Julie Hackett, Jeanette Hakalovic, Christopher Hamel, Jennifer Hampton, Rocio Handal Rodriguez, Chris Hanks, Lacey Hanson, Marsha Hayes, Carrie Helfman, Darcelle Hicks, John Hirschy, Aly Hoffman, Kate Horn, Mariana Ignacio Garcia, Suzanne Jabaley, Victoria Jaworski, Rhonda Johnson, Rachel Jones, Renee Junio, Medina Kelmendi, Patricia King, Anthony Leighton, Sara Leighton, Ann Loeffler, Emiliya Longoria, Heather Lorenzen, Cassie Mapolski, Damian Marak, Sara McCall, Timothy Menza, Allison Merrill, Kathleen Miller, Jaxon Mitchell, William Montoya, Fleetwood Mozee, Carlos Negrete, Irene Nguyen, Evangeline Nichols, Arwen Okalani, Sonya Olivas, Karen Olsen, Tamara Ooms, Griffin Pahl, Cesar Pecori, Marvin Pena, Josh Pericas, Sara Porter, Zara Preciado-Carrillo, Maria Ramirez De Navarro, Alma Ramon, Jahaira Ramos, Jennifer Rechel, Andrea Richardson, Vee Rivera, Marie Sablan, Katia Shorb, Noel Silhan, Bobbie Simmons, Karen Slimp, Darlene Smith, Jennifer Snarski, Guadalupe Solano, Marina Sorokin, Tonya Staines, Melanie Swinburne, Kamala Taylor-Cline, Kim Toevs, Mya Tran, Brenda Valdez Garcia, Catherine Walker, Melissa Walker, Steven Walton, Veronica Wight, Zacchia Windon, Iris Wong, Emily Yamashita, Ezy Yoo

These teams together did an outstanding job of protecting our community from the Mpox virus, a very harmful, painful virus for those who acquire it and can even be deadly, as noted by the 96 deaths worldwide and 32 deaths in the United States. Thankfully, due to this amazing team and their compassionate, hard work — fueled by their tremendous commitment and in alignment with all the values we aspire for at Multnomah County — we had zero deaths and the community most at risk was able to be protected. While other major metropolitan areas struggled with their response, Multnomah County worked with community partners and each other to respond expertly, decisively and effectively.

Immunization and Mpox Response Teams

The Superior Customer Service to an External Customer Service AwardPerry Cabot, Health Dept.

Perry Cabot is the lone lead safety specialist in the Environmental Health Division. Mr. Cabot's action in responding to and identifying a lead poison in a Vietnamese eczema cream not only had huge safety impacts on reducing risk locally — but WORLDWIDE. Mr. Cabot's expertise and knowledge at the local level has enhanced service safety for children with eczema all around the globe. This is a huge, impressive, inspiring and amazing feat. Mr. Cabot's actions are the literal epitome of thinking globally and acting locally, except this local thinking has had the global impact.

Perry Cabot, Health Dept.

The Superior Customer Service to an External Customer Service AwardRebecca Freeman, DA’s Office

Deputy District Attorney Freeman recognized that some people were being charged with the crime of Driving While Suspended when in fact they were not currently legally suspended. Her efforts were featured in The Oregonian as a lead story.

Because of her, there are new laws being considered to address this DMV problem. She implemented a process to re-review about 2,000 prior charges and correct past errors in charging, which resulted in dismissing many cases that should never have been charged. She did much of this on her own time. During her review, she even located a person who was serving a prison sentence for a crime they were innocent of.

Rebecca Freeman, DA’s Office

The Superior Customer Service to an Internal Customer Service AwardEvelyn Pelayo, Health Dept.

Evelyn Pelayo regularly juggles competing priorities of her role as the Student Health Center (SHC) Program Supervisor for the medical assistants and licensed practical nurses. Across nine SHCs scattered across 5 school districts, Evelyn navigates daily demands of ensuring her team is trained and prepared to provide quality primary care services to the K-12 population and implementing quality controls and patient safety workflows. When we experienced a staffing shortage, Evelyn ensured that her staff were still able to get the breaks they needed, often dropping everything to cover their clinics so they could take a lunch break, planning her day so that she could be on site to help them get their work done, and providing coverage so that they could take vacations and holidays.

Adrienne Daniels accepts the Superior Customer Service to an Internal Customer Service Award on behalf of Evelyn Pelayo, Health Dept.

Committee’s Choice AwardCole Whitehurst, DCM

Cole Whitehurst has this incredible ability to champion diversity in the community and within our organization. In his role as College to County (C2C) coordinator, he completes rounds at local colleges and universities to attract talent from historically under-represented groups to apply as County interns. But Cole's work does not stop with higher education. Cole is constantly advocating diversity even outside of his County role. 

In the past month, Cole participated as a panel speaker at a Young Men of Purpose event. He is viewed as a leader in the community and a mentor for all children.

Cole Whitehurst, DCM

Chair’s Excellence AwardCharlene McGee, Health Dept.

Charlene has been a steady, integral presence in the County's COVID-19 response and brings deep equity and integrity to her work and her connections across the County. As REACH program manager, she's led efforts that have made huge impacts, including the Healthy Birth Initiative, a report on racial impacts on transportation, and incredible work connecting communities to vaccines during the pandemic.

Charlene McGee, Health Dept.