Big Island Wahine Winner of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2008 Community Health Leaders Award

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced the 2008 recipients of its Community Health Leaders (CHL) Award at its Annual Meeting in San Diego. The CHL Award honors unrecognized individuals who overcome daunting odds to improve the health and quality of life for underserved men, women and children in communities across the United States.

Now in its 15th year, the CHL awardees represent the geographical, cultural, ethnic, social and economic diversity of America. From providing deaf patients better access to medical care with interpreters, to giving low-income children a fair start on their education with eye exams, to violence prevention programs for teens, the awardees have dedicated themselves to tackling some of the most intractable problems affecting the health of their communities…
…This year’s winners join a distinguished and diverse group of 150 previous award recipients. The 2008 Community Health Leaders named today are…

3) DEANN CANUTESON, President of the Full Life Corporation, Kealakekua, Hawaii
As a junior in high school, Deann Canuteson visited a residential care facility for people with developmental disabilities and was shocked at the way people lived. That visit so profoundly impacted Canuteson that she has dedicated her adult life to building a world where people with intellectual and physical disabilities have greater opportunities and can make their own decisions about every aspect of their lives. Through her work at Full Life Corporation on Hawaii’s “Big Island,” Canuteson’s unrelenting advocacy has brought access to much-needed services previously not available for residents of the state. For example, today, approximately 2,500 people with developmental disabilities on the island of Hawaii now have access to services provided through the Medicaid Waiver Program…
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