2011 Public Health

2011_award_mhansonMolly Hanson, LiveWell Wheat Ridge

Nominated By: Jennifer Wieczorek, Denver Public Health and Elise Lubell, Jefferson County Public Health and Environment
Image: Elise Lubell, Molly Hanson and Jennifer Wieczorek

Molly Hanson has been the LiveWell Wheat Ridge (LWWR) Coordinator for the past 1.5 years. LWWR is funded by LiveWell Colorado (LWCO), a statewide non-profit organization committed to reducing obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living (HEAL) through policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that remove barriers and increase access to healthy behaviors.

Molly has been very successful in transforming this community-based initiative to a growing community movement. Molly replaced a poorly defined coalition and leadership structure to a higher functioning structure comprised of two taskforces (Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetable and Active Community Environments) and a Leadership Committee. She metamorphosized the initiative from project/program focused to a policy and (built) environment focus. Molly assessed the strategic direction of the initiative and found the staffing to be inadequate and hired an urban planner to provide those skill sets. Molly has skillfully taken her expertise with Tobacco Policy and applied it to HEAL. Molly is highly admired and respected by the HEAL community, the Wheat Ridge community and her LWCO peers.

Molly’s accomplishments during her tenure are notable. Molly has significantly raised and altered the reputation and standing of LWWR such that we are working better and have greater influence and credibility with City Council and City Staff. Taskforce membership has significantly increased and LWWR has assisted the City in developing and implementing several important planning and policy documents and processes. She has written two very well received grant proposals to fund LWWR through LWCO. Molly is actively working with the Leadership Committee in developing a sustainability plan that will assure the continuation of the movement once funding from LiveWell Colorado has ceased.

It is apparent that Molly has effectively integrated the knowledge from her RIHEL training and that Jefferson County Public Health and the residents of Wheat Ridge are the beneficiaries of her experience and training.