Public Health Champion Awards Ceremony

2019 Public Health Champions

County of San Diego

2023 Live Well San Diego

22nd Annual Public Health Champion Awards



During the first full week of April each year,  National Public Health Week (NPHW)  is observed across the U.S. as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the health of our nation. Each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers, and practitioners about issues related to each year’s theme.

For 2023, National Public Health Week was April 3-9. The theme was  “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health."

The  2023 Live Well San Diego 22nd Annual Public Health Champion Awards Ceremony, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) signature event, was held on Monday, April 3, 2023. This ceremony recognized extraordinary achievements in areas of public health service that protect and promote the health of the local population. The awards were created to honor the role of public/private collaborations that advance optimal health and wellness in the county’s diverse populations. 

When was the 2023 Event?

Who were the Award Recipients?

What Was This Year's Theme?

The 2023 Event

Watch a recording of the 2023 Live Well San Diego 22nd Annual Public Health Champion Awards Ceremony on the County of San Diego You Tube Page. The event was available for viewers to watch on the San Diego County News Center, on April 3, 2023.

The 2023 event was held Monday April 3, 2023, from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM, at the County Administration Center located at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101, in Room 310. Award recipients were recognized and added to a permanent plaque located in the HHSA Health Services Complex lobby, at 3851 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA 92110.

The 2023 Live Well San Diego 22nd Annual Public Health Champion Awards Ceremony is a program of Live Well San Diego, a long-term vision for improving the health and wellness of all San Diegans. View the Complete list of the Live Well San Diego Public Health Champions selected from 2002 through 2022.

The 2023 Live Well San Diego 22nd Annual Public Health Champion Award Recipients

On April 3, 2023, Live Well San Diego Public Health Champions (listed below) were recognized for their outstanding work and contributions to public health. To view the press release, which announces the 2023 Public Health Champion Award recipients and biographies, visit the County News Center


Public Health Services Awardees:

  1. The San Diego LGBT Community Center - Theme
  2. Anthony N. DeMaria, M.D. - Individual
  3. Cathryn Nacario, M.H.A., R.N., P.H.N. - Individual
  4. Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation - Organization

Director's Awardees: 

  1. Toni G. Atkins, Senate President Pro Tempore
  2. Todd Gloria, Mayor of San Diego
  3. Hala Madanat, Ph.D., M.S. 
  4. Tamera Kohler
  5. Matt Hoffman
  6. Pete Sisson

Aging and Independence Services and Regional Awardees:

  1. Carre McClellan - Aging and Independence Services
  2. TransFamily Support Services - Central Region
  3. Episcopal Community Services, Paras Las Familias - South Region
  4. Joyce Moore, B.S. - East Region
  5. Rose Ceballos - North Central Region
  6. Dra. Beatriz Villareal - North Coastal Region
  7. Graciela Moreno, B.S. - North Inland Region

This Year’s Theme

The Live Well San Diego Public Health Champion Awards Ceremony is the County’s annual signature event during National Public Health Week.

This year’s theme award recognized achievements related to the 2023 National Public Health Week theme: “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health.” The theme award was presented to recognize achievements related to NPHW theme. Visit the National Public Health Week Website for a full description. These themes embody the vision of Live Well San Diego and the County’s strategic mission. The daily themes included the following: 

2023 Daily National Public Health Week Themes


Community is where we are. It’s our connections with others who share similar interests, attitudes, and goals. People with greater feelings of support, connection, and inclusion within their networks may live longer, respond better to stress, and have stronger immune systems than those who are isolated from their communities. Become more engaged or re-engage with your community and make an impact on public health. Join a community garden, donate healthy and culturally appropriate canned food options to food pantries or volunteer at local food distributions.

Violence Prevention

Culturally specific interventions are critical to effective violence prevention and reduction. For example, intimate partner violence or other controlling and abusive behaviors may be normalized in certain cultures due to taboos or patriarchal social norms. Learn about community-based strategies for creating the kinds of safe, stable, and nurturing environments that help prevent child abuse and neglect. Advocate for community-driven solutions that identify and target the root of violence and don't criminalize entire communities.

Reproductive Health

When people receive quality reproductive and sexual health care, education, and access, they can fulfill a happier and healthier life. The lack of inclusive and accessible reproductive and sexual health care and education negatively affects everyone, but marginalized communities carry a greater burden of harm. Support Black, Indigenous, and other people of color reproductive justice through actions like voting in federal, state, and local elections for candidates and policies that center inclusive and accessible sexual and reproductive care.

Mental Health

Mental health is important at every stage of life. It continuously affects how people think, feel, and act. It also plays an important role in physical and social well-being. Practicing mindfulness, eating a well-balanced diet, engaging in physical exercise, and getting a good night’s rest have been proven to help improve mental health. To make an impact on your community’s mental health and well-being, volunteer for a local mental health organization and attend events, such as walks and fundraisers, that support the mental health movement.

If you or someone you know need mental health services, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. You can also call, text or chat 988 to connect with a trained counselor through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Rural Health

Fourteen percent of Americans live in rural areas. Rural Americans have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Children living in rural areas also face greater challenges with their development, mental health, and behavioral health. Improve mental and physical health and community involvement by creating activity programs and modifying local areas, like parks and playgrounds, and creating walking trails and protected bike lanes. Increase access to health facilities and other public resources by arranging transportation services using volunteer rideshare, public buses, and scheduled vans.


To move toward health equity, it is critical to recognize that people with disabilities are facing health disparities. Improving access to nutritious food — particularly in areas with limited access to fresh produce — has been linked to improving overall health and eating habits. Doctors’ offices can provide health information and resources in multiple languages for people whose primary language is not English. Urge congressional representatives to ensure access to gender-affirming care for youth, which is in jeopardy in some states.

Food and Nutrition

Food and nutrition are at the core of many public health concerns, from chronic disease to climate change. Accessibility and affordability of nutritious food can determine a lifetime of health outcomes. To ensure everyone has the food they need to thrive, systemic changes are essential. Contribute to the local community by volunteering with a food bank in the area and ask Congress to keep food banks fully funded. 

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If you have further questions, please contact Mike Jones at (619) 884-0698 or

The Live Well San Diego Public Health Champion Awards Ceremony is a component of Live Well San Diego, a long-term vision for improving the health and wellness of all San Diegans.