Community Solutions Award for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala

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In 2019, three Ohio legislators received The Center for Community Solutions’ Award for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala for their efforts to address maternal health issues!

Representative Janine R. Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights), Representative Stephanie D. Howse (D-Cleveland) and Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) were honored in Cleveland on Friday, October 25. Boyd and Howse also participated in a panel discussion moderated by Sarah Buduson, News 5 Cleveland Investigative Reporter.

The three legislators have worked tirelessly on the issues of infant and maternal mortality with the goal of empowering mothers, strengthening families and, thereby, building stronger communities across the state. Boyd and Howse are co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, and issues affecting girls and women are at the forefront of Sykes’ policy agenda.

The Center for Community Solutions Award for Public Service in Honor of John A. Begala was established in 2015 to honor those who have shown a great commitment to public service, especially as it relates to improving health and human services in Ohio.

Award recipients have included:

2015: Sen. Shannon Jones (R-7) and Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-15) were honored for their bipartisan work on addressing the state’s unacceptably high infant mortality rate

2016: State Representatives Nickie Antonio (D-13) and Robert Sprague (R-83) were honored for their efforts to address Ohio’s opiate crisis and their work on the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee

2017: Greg Moody, director of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation, was honored for his efforts to modernize Ohio’s Medicaid program and to improve health care quality and outcomes in Ohio

2018: Sen. Dave Burke (R-26) was honored for his efforts to address health and social needs of Ohioans, especially as the chair of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee—which he played a lead role in establishing. A pharmacist by trade, he played an integral role in shutting down pill mills in Ohio, which was an early, vital step in addressing the opioid crisis.

The award is named after John A. Begala, Community Solutions’ former executive director and a three-term member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Begala dedicated his career to public service and the human service field, with leadership positions at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Greater Cincinnati Hospital Association and the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Begala believes that, “stripped of all trappings, health and social services are fundamentally acts of love and there are few better ways to make a living.” He retired in December, 2014.

The 2019 awards ceremony was part of the annual Celebration of Human Services program, which included presentations of the $25,000 Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award to a nonprofit organization and the Most Treasured Volunteer Awards. It was held on Friday, October 25, at the Hilton Garden Inn & Gateway Conference Center.

The Center for Community Solutions is a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank focusing on solutions to health, social and economic issues in Northeast Ohio. Established in 1913.