A Denver nurse who has committed her career to educating youth about how to live healthy lives has been named the 2009 Dr. Bernard F. Gipson Sr. Health Leadership Award winner by the Center for African-American Health.
Rosalyn Wheeler-Bell, R.N., B.S.N., received the distinguished award on Nov. 20 at the center’s annual fundraising dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver.
“After graduating from the University of Colorado’s School of Nursing, Rosalyn Wheeler-Bell went on to dedicate the next 35 years of her personal and professional life to ensuring African-Americans have the knowledge and skills they need to make sound choices to enhance their physical, emotional and intellectual well-being,” said Grant Jones, founder and executive director of the Center for African-American Health. “That is why she epitomizes the spirit of this award.”
The health leadership award is given annually to individuals who through their leadership and servicehave made outstanding contributions to the health and well-being of the African-American community. It is named for Dr. Gipson, the first board-certified African-American surgeon in Colorado.
Wheeler-Bell founded and served from 1996 to 2005 as the executive director of Community Health Education Services, a nonprofit organization that provided reproductive health education to more than 4,000 youth in Denver and Aurora public schools. For the past year and a half, she has worked at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, coordinating health services for the city’s homeless. Wheeler-Bell also is a certified trainer on adolescent reproductive health for the Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education.
In addition, Wheeler-Bell has been active in community service. At the Greater Park Hill Community Inc., she has served as board chair and chair of the health and human services committee, and is credited with increasing neighborhood residents’ use of the Park Hill Family Health Clinic and bringing a wide range of health screenings and education programs to the Park Hill community. Currently she serves as the chair of the neighborhood association’s education committee, working to provide community volunteers to the local schools.
“All of this work speaks to Rosalyn Wheeler-Bell’s personal and professional commitment to improving the lives of people of color in Denver for generations to come,” said Ann Long, blockworker coordinator for Greater Park Hill News, who nominated Wheeler-Bell for the award.