Public health contributors honored

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By Community Editor


Two individuals and three local organizations are being honored with the Dr. William Fitzsimmons Public Health Award for their contributions to the health and well-being of Oak Parkers. The awards will be announced during National Public Health Week, April 7-13.

The Fitzsimmons Award for Excellence in Public Health is named in honor of the Oak Park Health Department's Medical Consultant from 1976-1992. Dr. Fitzsimmons was an Oak Park physician and humanitarian who volunteered his services to the Village for many years, demonstrating compassion for others regardless of race or socio-economic status, a deep love of medicine and dedication to serving others, public health officials said.

The annual awards are presented by the Oak Park Board of Health and the Oak Park Department of Public Health. This year's winners are:

• Dr. Paul Schattauer of the Green Medical Practice, which promotes preventing illness with a healthy lifestyle including eating well, exercise, fostering nurturing relationships, spending time with nature and avoiding toxic environments. 

• Greenline Wheels, which defines itself as a low-profit business with a social mission to encourage eco-friendly transportation in the Oak Park area.

Greenline not only specializes in renting bicycles, but also educates residents of all ages on safe cycling and other 'environmentally friendly' modes of transportation.

• Mary Ellen Sjostrom, RN, who, for nearly 20 years, has been the first responder to the health needs of the thousands of Oak Park residents who attend Oak Park River and Forest High School. Her nomination noted her gracious and compassionate spirit.

• The Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry, whose staff and volunteers provide nutritious groceries, produce, meat and dairy products to more than 15,000 needy families in Oak Park and surrounding communities each year.

• Prevail, whose mission is to provide immediate and compassionate response to individuals and families facing financial crisis and offer supportive services.

Since its inception, Prevail's volunteers have assisted more than 4,000 clients with needs ranging from affordable health care and identification assistance to eviction prevention.

For more information on the annual Fitzsimmons Award, call 708.358.5480 or email

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