The Larimer County Board of Health announces that Lupe Harbison, Health Care Program Coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center in Fort Collins, is the recipient of the 2009 Joseph Jabaily Public Health Hero Award. The award is given yearly to honor the contributions to public health and the selfless spirit of Dr. Joseph Jabaily, a Loveland neurologist who died tragically in a charity bicycle race in the summer of 2004.
The award honors Harbison’s tireless efforts to link medically underserved women to low-cost breast and reproductive health care services.Over the nine years that she has been on the Women’s Resource Center staff, she has been an advocate and guide for hundreds of Larimer County women whom she has helped connect to health care providers or to funding sources for evaluation and treatment they could not otherwise afford. She also manages breast health funds from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to assist low-income women receive mammograms and diagnostics for breast cancer.
Harbison serves as one of a few Larimer County promatoras, providing health-related outreach and education in a culturally-appropriate way within the Latina community.
“By educating women and helping link them to care, Lupe has helped hundreds of women to receive preventive care and early diagnosis for breast and cervical cancer,” her nomination states. “Because of her help, women have received the necessary surgery and treatment for cancer that they would not have obtained otherwise. She is sought out by community members because of her fame in helping those in need and her ability to make miracles happen.
“Her intervention, guidance and support have literally saved lives.”
Harbison works with multiple local agencies which provide diverse public health services and outreach. She assists with public health efforts through Tobacco Free Larimer County, Vida Sana (Uniting for the Health Equity of Latinos), the Breast Cancer Check-off Campaign, the Latino Regional Community Coalition, and The Larimer County Women’s Health Consortium
“Lupe exemplifies the Jabaily selfless spirit everyday, both through her work and through her commitment to this community,” said Jan Moraczewski, health educator at the Larimer County Health Department. “She is selfless and passionate for equal access to health information, services, and care for all. She works for as long as it takes with a client until the issue is resolved. For Lupe, her clients’ needs always come first.”
Harbison is quick to share the kudos. “We live in a very caring community,” she says. “I work with a great staff and with very caring health care providers, who do what they can in order to help our clients,” she says.