Reason for Nomination: Nick continuously makes thorough legal assessments and recommendations thanks to his extensive knowledge of public health and human services law and history in Montana. He has years of experience and expertise as a public health attorney and leads efforts to eliminate discrimination in health care. His commitment to public service and desire to ensure access to health care for all Montanans is appreciated.
Reason for Nomination: Nova Pauls played an instrumental role in the DPHHS response to COVID-19. She managed the departments Joint Information Center (JIC) and the Governor’s COVID-19 Relief Funds. She enhanced public engagement by distributing accurate and timely information, ensured programs operated with high integrity, adhered to the rules, and maintained a fair and consistent approval process. Thanks to Nova and her team, the agency has awarded millions of dollars in relief funds to support social safety net nonprofits, reduce isolation, improve access to health coverage, ensure childcare, promote behavioral health, and enhance food security.
COVID-19 Information Response Team Award
Kristi Aklestad, Eve Beebe, Amber Bell, Victoria Blackburn, Ann Buss, Auja Bywater, Karen Cech, Traci Clark, Rebecca Corbett, Chuck Council, Darla Dexter, Emily Dunklee, Wes Eastis, Jon Ebelt, Kimme Evermann, Jessie Fernandes, Jamie Fortune-Blair, Will Gardner, Yvonne Gentile, Lona Gregor, Alyssa Johnson, Linda Krantz, Carol Kussman, Kris Larson, Katy Lovell, Mike McNamara, Ryan Molm, Alisha Oellerman, Heather Rae, Kathy Rich, Kellie Richetti, Rachel Rolston, Jamie Schmidt, Katie Swanson, Gina Tracy, Janet Trethewey, and M'liss Weisner
Reason for Nomination: The COVID-19 Information Response Team coordinated with the state’s Joint Information Center to respond to phone calls and emails from Montana citizens, as well as state and national news media about the public health emergency. This team consists of employees throughout the agency who stepped up to take on additional responsibility ensuring all inquiries were responded to in a timely fashion to help keep both Montana citizens and out-of-state residents informed. This team came together in a time of crisis to help their fellow citizens.
COVID-19 Public Health Response Team
Stacey Anderson, Erika Araos, James Aspevig, Ashley Ausman, Margaret Ann Baker, Debra Belleau, Carrie Biskupiak, Lydia Bloom, Jacob Brown, Tammy Buckley, Melissa Burch, Jill Cohenour, Jaqueline Dixon, Angela Dusko, Robert Elkins, Staci Evangeline, Edward Evanson, Dana Fejes, Curtis Fjelstad, Keturah Fortner, Crystal Fortune, Luke Fortune, Michelle Funchess, Deborah Gibson, Kathleen Grady-Selby, Linda Gryczan, Todd Harwell, Jeffrey Havens, Nina Heinzinger, Rachel Hinnenkamp, Greg Holzman, Donna Hosmer, Lori Hutchinson, Jenna Kaiser, Sarah Keppen, Bekki Kirsch Wehner, Stacy Klaue, Shannon Koenig, Gayle LaBlanc, Jeanne Lee, Erik Leigh, Russel Leu, Danielle Lindeman, Alicia Love, Gail Macklin, Kathleen Manion, Janel Mason, Matthew Matich, Helen McCaffrey, Katie McCormick, Donald McGiboney, Lorna McIntyre, Jennifer Miller, Lana Moyer, Michelle Mozer, Cara Murolo, James Murphy, Kimberly Newman, Keven O'Loughlin, Mercedes Overlie, Ronald Paul, Susan Reeser, Elizabeth Reynolds, Jay Ritter, Samantha Saycich, Lynette Schmit, Magdalena Scott, Katie Sides, Lois Sunblad, Ian Thigpen, Joanne Thun, Colin Tobin, Elaine Ulgenes, Kimberly Varvel, Walter Walsh, Ryan Weight, M'liss Weisner, Gerald Wheat, and Gary Zimmerman
Reason for Nomination: The Public Health Response Team consists of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Emergency Preparedness Sections, Public Health Laboratory, and other staff who continue to work tirelessly on the statewide response to address the COVID-19 pandemic, along with county and Tribal health departments. The team provides 24/7 support to local jurisdictions to prevent and contain local outbreaks, coordinates the distribution of supplies, and provides statewide testing services for COVID-19. This team also produces bi-weekly analysis reports, posts daily website updates, conducts media interviews, and responds to inquiries from the public. They have demonstrated leadership and dedication to the safety and health of our communities.
Facility Managers Team Award
Zoe Barnard, Kyle Fouts, Jennifer Garber, Shannon LaTray, Diane Scotten, and Joren Underdahl
Reason for Nomination: During COVID-19, the Facility Managers Team continued to ensure the health and safety of those entrusted to the State as well as their staff who provide direct care and support. This team implemented new safety regulations and processes and actively addressed staffing challenges at the facilities. They led by example and put the facilities' well-being as their number one priority. Montana is fortunate to have this team leading facilities during these unprecedented times.
Health Resources Division Operations Research Team Award
Julie Bullman, Trisha Goettle, Clay Hanson, Donny Holmlund, and Renee Quintana
Reason for Nomination: The Health Resources Division Operations Research Team created robust tribal reports which aid Tribes and DPHHS in better understanding healthcare utilization within Montana's Tribal communities. These reports are essential for building and maintaining strong government-to-government relationships. The team worked diligently to diagnose and rectify claims processing system problems affecting Indian Health Services and Tribes. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the team was quick to research necessary procedure code changes. Their work ensured Medicaid members continued to receive quality care during this time.
Network & Communications Bureau COVD-19 Response Team Award
Daniel Allen, Ian Bahr, Gregory Bratcher, Christopher Gleason, David Good, Buddy Hanrahan, Jesse Hartmann, James Haun, Joseph Hudson, Sheldon Kaldor, Kathleen Kershaw, Jared Lindseth, Brett Lutkehus, Casey McMahon, Sherrty Mitschke, Christi Mock, Keith Noem, Scott Pomajevich, Kyle Sayler, Susan Spatzierath, Darran Trench, Rick Wilkowski, Chad Williams, Robert Williamson, and Steven Wilson
Reason for Nomination: The Network and Communication Bureau COVID-19
Response Team made it possible for agency employees to work remotely during the
ongoing public health emergency. The team successfully transitioned 1,600 staff
members to work remotely within a two-week period while preserving critical
business continuity. They maintained the high levels of security while
providing help desk support and training to employees. This effort enabled
employees to perform their duties while they transitioned to telework during
this challenging time.