Congratulations to our 2024 award winners! NNPHI awards recognize and celebrate outstanding individuals and organizations who have exemplified outstanding innovative work and leadership in Public Health.

Celebrations Are In Order: Introducing Our 2024 NNPHI Annual Conference Award Recipients!

The NNPHI Awards Program recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that have made exemplary contributions to improving the public’s health and embody NNPHI’s mission and values. NNPHI’s mission is to support national public health system initiatives and strengthen public health institutes to promote multi-sector initiatives resulting in measurable improvements of public health structures, systems, and outcomes.

This year’s conference, Building Pathways to Improve Public Health, will provide space for all in attendance to make connections, learn from colleagues, develop skills, and obtain actionable takeaways to bring back to their communities. This year’s award NNPHI award recipients embody these values and exemplify outstanding and innovative work, leadership in Public Health, and devotion to a healthier and more equitable world.

NNPHI introduced a new award this year, the Strengthening the Public Health System Award. This award was designed to honor a project team that has implemented a successful initiative to increase the capacity of state, tribal, local and territorial health departments and their partners to advance positive health outcomes. Special consideration was given to projects in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that have produced impactful partnerships, resources and/or tools. The response was so great that TWO award winners were selected.

Joseph Kimbrell Award

Elissa Bassler, recently retired CEO of Illinois Public Health Institute, is an instrumental leader in the development of NNPHI and the growth of the network. As part of the initial cohort of institutes that formed NNPHI, Elissa helped to demonstrate the viability and reliability of institutes to NNPHI’s funders and partners through projects like the Multi-State Learning Collaborative which laid the groundwork for national accreditation, health systems transformation, building capacity for health impact assessments, data modernization and many other projects. Elissa has served as a mentor for developing institutes and was an integral member of the Board of NNPHI for several years, providing leadership at a time of significant growth. We celebrate Elissa’s 23 years of service to NNPHI and deep commitment to public health and health equity.

Public Health Innovation Award

PHMC’s Health Promotion Council, Jamie Magee, MSW, MSPH, HPC in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health is being honored for their Think Twice campaign, which encourages retailers to “Think Twice before selling tobacco to customers under 21” and simultaneously encourage consumers to report a retailer that breaks the law.  The project uses an innovative approach to targeting digital media. Think Twice creates highly accurate maps of specific physical spaces, such as individual retail stores or precise areas around them through the use of Blueprint mapping technology. This innovation gives the ability to pinpoint employees vs consumers and effectively message them both. Messaging reaches the target audiences exactly where it matters most—within their stores and immediate surroundings (i.e., parking lot). HPC and PA DOH teach and model an entrepreneurial approach by demonstrating the importance of adaptability, precision targeting, and the strategic use of technology to make a tangible impact on public health challenges.

Strengthening the Public Health System Award

The Arc of Pennsylvania created a campaign to raise awareness of health disparities related to COVID-19 in the disability community. The goal of the campaign was to shed light on the health disparities in the disability community, bridge the gap between healthcare providers and the disability community, and ensure that in future emergencies, information is accessible and reflects the disability community.

. The results included education campaign materials on healthcare and COVID-19 accessible for individual with disabilities, training materials for local communities to ensure individuals with disabilities receive equitable access to COVID-19 services, and a report to the PA Department of Health on health disparities in the disability community. Learn more at: here.

Tribal Opioid Overdose Prevention initiative, a collaboration between Seven Directions, NNPHI and CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Division of Injury Prevention (NCIPC DIP) for the past six years on the Opioid Overdose Prevention in Tribes project. This project has strengthened the tribal public health system through several project strategies that are grounded in respecting tribal sovereignty as well as cultural knowledge and traditions. Seven Directions created the Indigenous Evaluation Toolkit to support improved evaluation efforts in opioid overdose prevention; the toolkit will be adapted to support broader injury prevention. Learn more at:

Honorable Mention: Montana Public Health Institute, Applying a Public Health Lens to Behavioral Health (Matt Kelley) developed a Behavioral Health Toolkit that identifies ways that public health at local and tribal levels can be leaders in this field and build off current work. Matt Kelley has provided statewide leadership in advocating for investing in behavioral health as a public health issue by educating state legislators and other leaders. Learn more at:

Once again, we would like to congratulate to our 2024 NNPHI award winners!

We look forward to celebrating these awardees and shining a light on their impressive work at the 2024 NNPHI Annual Conference!

Find out more about #NNPHIAC24 by visiting here.



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