Thorson Receives Nursing Leadership Award

Posted On: November 26, 2018

Diane Thorson, Otter Tail County, Receives 2018 Barbara O’Grady Excellence in Public Health Nursing Leadership Award

Diane Thorson, Otter Tail County, Receives 2018 Barbara O’Grady Excellence in Public Health Nursing Leadership Award
Thorson Receives 2018 Barbara O’Grady Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 26, 2018 – Otter Tail County, MN – The Local Public Health Association of Minnesota (LPHA) is pleased to announce Diane Thorson, Otter Tail County Public Health Director and Partnership4Health Community Health Administrator, as the recipient of the 2018 Barbara O’Grady Excellence in Public Health Nursing Leadership Award.

Diane has been a public health leader in Minnesota for more than 40 years, taking the lead on many pioneering projects. Throughout her career, Diane has exemplified a keen ability to build collaborative partnerships throughout her region and the state, a commitment to championing challenging projects, and an unwavering dedication to preparing the future public health nursing workforce. Among the many examples of her leadership, Diane led efforts between Otter Tail, Becker, Clay, and Wilkin counties’ public health departments to implement cross-jurisdictional sharing options to expand access to public health services. This concept led to the birth of Partnership4Health Community Health Board.

Diane’s expertise and leadership have made significant contributions to public health nursing and the health of communities at the local, state, and national levels. During her career, Diane partnered with pediatricians in the community to implement what is now known as the Vaccine for Children Program, guided the development of one of the first Assisted Living Programs in the state, and led pioneering efforts for the use of electronic health records in Minnesota.

Diane has dedicated her career to public health nursing. As shared by one nominator, “She has been an exemplary mentor, to myself and many others, and her ‘can-do’ attitude is refreshing in a world of challenges and barriers.” Another wrote, “Most notable have been Diane’s regional and statewide leadership endeavors, her promotion of community health standards, advocacy for public health nursing, initiatives that have been inspired by Diane’s creativity and innovation, and – above all – her stalwart devotion to community collaboration involving clients, patients, private and public-sector partners.”

The Barbara O’Grady Award was established in 1991 to recognize and honor public health nurses working in management or education settings in Minnesota for outstanding leadership and contributions to public health. The award is administered annually by LPHA, which works to achieve a strong public health system through leadership and collective advocacy on behalf of the public health organizations of Minnesota’s city, county, and tribal governments.

For more information about the Barbara O’Grady Award and a list of past recipients, visit’grady.html. For information about Otter Tail County Public Health, visit:

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