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Award Recipients

Dr. Ed Ehlinger

MDH Commissioner Edward Ehlinger, MD, MSPH selected as the 2011 MN-AAP Child Advocacy Award Recipient

Dr. Ehlinger is responsible for directing the work of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Prior to being appointed commissioner, he was director and chief health officer for Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota. He also served as an adjunct professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the U of M School of Public Health. Dr. Ehlinger completed medical school at the University of Wisconsin Madison and is a board-certified pediatrician.

The Minnesota chapter received numerous letters of support for Dr. Ehlinger’s nomination from everyone from colleagues at the Minnesota Department of Health to the Commissioners of Education and Human Services to Governor Dayton himself.

Everyone agreed that Dr. Ehlinger has been an extraordinary advocate for children especially the poor and marginalized. Over the past year he has led efforts to lower infant death rates in the metro area, create and sustain school-based clinics to increase access to care, and provide services to meet the needs of newly arrived Southeast Asian immigrants.

Dr.  Ehlinger was the first recipient of a national award recognizing achievement by the City Maternal Child Health organization. It is no surprise that the award is officially known as the Ed Ehlinger Award.

He has also been involved in a large number of task forces and committees dealing with issues including newborn screening, immunizations, lead poisoning, tuberculosis, teen pregnancy prevention, and health care homes. But his work isn’t limited to committees. He went to the Somali community during the measles outbreak when there was so much vaccine resistance. And he went to learn about North Minneapolis when the people there asked for help.

As Governor Dayton put it, “Dr. Ehlinger’s promotion of health and safety issues impacting Minnesota’s children throughout his 30 plus years of practice in Minnesota has been outstanding and is only eclipsed by the leadership he has shown since I asked him to be my Commissioner of Health just over a year ago.”

Dr. Ehlinger has been Commissioner of Health during a very difficult time. Minnesota has faced budget crises, a shutdown, and a divided legislature. In spite of these challenges, Dr. Ehlinger has continued to advocate for the health and wellbeing of all children in Minnesota.

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