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Public health contributors honored with 2019 Fitzsimmons Awards

June 12, 2019 - Two individuals and one local non-profit organizations have been honored with the Dr. William Fitzsimmons Public Health Award for contributions to the health and well-being of Oak Parkers.

Public Health is named in honor of the Oak Park Health Department’s Medical Consultant from 1976-1992. Dr. Fitzsimmons was an Oak Park physician and humanitarian who volunteered his services to the Village for many years.

The annual awards are presented by the Board of Health and the  Department of Public Health. This year’s winners are listed below, with information about their contributions in the words of their nominators:

Ginger Colamussi, Oak Park and River Forest High School

Colamussi is a social worker and prevention wellness coordinator at Oak Park and River Forest High School where she promotes healthy lifestyles and is an advocate for the mental and physical health of students. In particular, Colamussi has championed the physical, mental, social and emotional health needs of transgender and non-binary students and other members of the LGBTQ+ community as the faculty advisor to A Place for All, the gender and sexuality alliance at the high school. 

New Moms 

New Moms and its predecessor, Parenthesis Family Center, have served Oak Park since 1980, providing health-focused home visiting to new mothers, child developmental screenings and workshops and support groups for parents. New Moms' priority population is adolescent mothers, who are at high risk for long-term negative health outcomes around child health, development and educational issues,  domestic violence and social isolation. In 2017, New Moms added doula services in Oak Park, supporting healthy pregnancies. In early 2019, New Moms is adding housing for 18 homeless Oak Park families. Housing is a critical health determinant, without which families cannot stabilize. Supporting young families is critical in supporting the health of Oak Park — as young families stabilize, they access quality healthcare and children enter school on track with peers — better positioning the whole community for success.

Dr. Carlos Reynes, Walk with a Doc 

Dr. Carlos Reynes has champion the “Walk with a Doc” program in Oak Park in partnership with the Park District of Oak Park.  The program was introduced it in the spring of 2018. Community members meet Dr. Reynes and his healthcare team at Lindberg Park the third Saturday of each month for a free walking program. During this time, participants have the opportunity to not only take the first step toward achieving a healthier lifestyle, but to also ask health-related questions throughout the walk. The program has received such positive feedback from the community that the program has committed to offering programming from the spring through fall of 2019. The program is accessible to all in an effort to motivate the Oak Park community to get out and walk for 60 minutes, all while socializing with neighbors!

For more information on the annual Fitsimmons awards, call 708.358.5480 or email