Iowa Public Health Heroes honored

Published on May 11, 2022

2022 Iowa Public Health Heroes. From left to right: Charla Schafer, Kathy Leinenkugel, Edith Parker, Tai Burkhart.
From left: Charla Schafer, Kathy Leinenkugel, Edith Parker, and Tai Burkhart.

The University of Iowa College of Public Health recently honored three Iowa public health leaders whose work is helping to promote better health, prevent disease, and build stronger communities throughout the state.

The 2022 Iowa Public Health Heroes Awards were presented to Tai Burkhart, director of Buchanan County Public Health in Independence; Kathy Leinenkugel, recently retired program director for the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Occupational Health & Safety Surveillance Program in Des Moines; and Charla Schafer, executive director of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine in Muscatine.

The award recipients were honored Tuesday, May 3, during a reception and awards ceremony at the Public Health Conference of Iowa in Ames.

Learn more about the heroes

Since 2012, the College of Public Health’s Iowa Public Health Heroes Award program has recognized exceptional efforts by individuals from diverse career paths whose work improves health and wellness throughout Iowa. Award recipients are nominated by their peers in the Iowa public health practice community.

“The health of all Iowans is enhanced through the leadership and service of so many dedicated professionals working in the public health sector,” says Edith Parker, dean of the College of Public Health. “We are proud to honor these three individuals and to recognize their outstanding work in the communities they serve.”