The MetroWest Health Foundation today announced the recipients of the 2012 Deborah Blumer Community Health Leadership Award - Fran Bakstran and Edna Smith, according to the organization.
Both recipients exemplify the former state representative's passion for health care, her tireless advocacy for the underprivileged, and deep concern for the community where she lived and worked, the foundation said..
“Our awards committee had a difficult time choosing among the many outstanding individuals nominated for this award by members of the community,” said Martin Cohen, president of the foundation. “In the end, our two honorees were chosen for their efforts to bring health care to so many needy individuals and families in the MetroWest area.”
Smith, a registered nurse and Ashland resident, is the chair of the Community Health Network Area 7, which works to improve the health of disadvantaged residents in a 22-town area. She is also chair of the MetroWest Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Workgroup; and is former chair of the foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Smith is also a devoted member of the Greater Framingham Community Church, where she worked to expand the church’s health ministry. She has been a relentless advocate for reducing health disparities among minorities and improving equal access to care, according to the foundation.
Bakstran, a Northborough resident, is the health access coordinator at MetroWest Legal Services in Framingham, where she has been for 10 years. She has worked as a legal advocate for thousands of MetroWest residents, and has assisted more than 5,000 individuals and families obtain and maintain insurance coverage through MassHealth and Commonwealth Care Health Insurance.
Each year since 2001, the Foundation has recognized an individual or organization that has demonstrated leadership in improving health and/or health care in the region by either mobilizing individuals, resources and organizations to confront an important community health issue, developing new services and supports to improve the health of vulnerable populations or raising the level of awareness of an important health issue in the MetroWest area.
Past recipients include: Diane Gould, executive vice president of Advocates, Inc. in Framingham; the late Dr. Stanley Sabin medical director of the MetroWest Free Medical Clinic in Framingham and the Natick Visiting Nurse Association in Natick; and the late Nancy King of MetroWest Legal Services in Framingham.
The award is named for Blumer, who died in 2006 after five years in the state Legislature. She was instrumental in forming the foundation in its early years and served as the founding chair of the Board of Trustees. Each year the foundation honors a community member who emulates Blumer's passion for ensuring that all residents have equal access to medical care.
For more information about the Foundation, visit www.mwhealth.org.