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2015 Denver Healthy Communities Awards Winners Announced

Mayor Michael B. Hancock today joined more than 75 city officials and community partners to announce the winners of the inaugural Denver Healthy Communities Awards.  

Launched by Denver Environmental Health, the Healthy Communities Awards are intended to recognize individuals, as well as public, private, and community organizations working to promote public health and environmental sustainability.

Nominations were accepted for three categories: Innovation, Compliance and Good Neighbor. More than 30 nominations were reviewed and scored by a panel of experts in public health, sustainability and related areas.

The 2015 Healthy Communities Awards recipients include:  

Innovation Award
Designed to recognize individuals and organizations that employ innovative strategies, processes, or technologies to improve public health and/or the environment in Denver.

  • Denver Housing Authority – With a portfolio of more than 11,000 residential units and housing choice vouchers, Denver Housing Authority (DHA) provides affordable housing to low and middle income individuals and families. DHA was nominated for its innovative approach to redeveloping the South Lincoln neighborhood. DHA was among the first in Denver to use health impact assessments to address neighborhood safety, social cohesion, economic policy, and education reform. As a result, the South Lincoln redevelopment master plan adopted the Healthy Living Initiative (HLI), which has significantly expanded health and wellness activities to increase physical activity in the neighborhood.

Compliance Award
Designed to encourage, recognize and reward local individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations that have consistently met or exceeded applicable standards established through recognized best practices, regulation or certification.

  • Racines – A staple on Denver’s restaurant scene since 1983, Racines was nominated for consistently achieving high levels of compliance on health inspections. Racine’s has maintained an exceptional level of compliance, which is especially remarkable given the high volume (more than 1,000) of customers Racines serves on a daily basis. Their near perfect compliance record, particularly over the past two years, has been attributed to management and staff’s efforts to ensure a consistent approach to protecting public health in Denver.

Good Neighbor Award (2)
Designed to recognize individuals and organizations that have a longstanding commitment to protecting and/or improving the environment in Denver (clean air, land, and water), or promoting healthy people through improved access to healthy food, healthy built environments, or promoting healthy pets through activities at the animal shelter or in the community at-large.

  • Edison Elementary Green Team –Northwest Denver’s Edison Elementary was nominated for launching a stakeholder-engaged effort to create sustainable systems and school policies, known as the Edison Elementary Green Team. Consisting of 10 parent volunteers and 30 student leaders, the Green Team collaborates with the school's administration and staff to make the school a healthy place through environmental stewardship.

    Examples of efforts includes planting an organic garden and fruit orchard, organizing an Earth Day parade around the neighborhood to pick up trash, launching a school composting and recycling program, and fundraising to purchase washable plates and utensils to reduce waste generated by the more than 270 students that eat school lunch daily.  Thanks to these efforts, Edison Elementary has diverted as much as 70 percent of its waste from going to the landfill.
  • Groundwork Denver – Established in 2002, the nonprofit organization Groundwork Denver was nominated for a variety of projects that have helped build community engagement to improve and protect the environment and public health in Denver.

This includes launching an urban agriculture program that provides fresh, local produce to Denver Public Schools students, in addition to offering training to help students grow their own food. Groundwork Denver was also nominated for their work developing the Platte Farm Open Space (PFOS) in Globeville, an underused, underappreciated parcel of land in the heart of a residential/industrial neighborhood that is being restored to short grass prairie with trails, a picnic area and a playground.

For more information about the Denver Healthy Communities Awards, visit

Denver’s Department of Environmental Health (DEH) is dedicated to advancing Denver’s environmental and public health goals. The divisions of DEH are: Animal Protection, Community Health, Environmental Quality, Office of the Medical Examiner, and Public Health Inspections.

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