2018 Health Champions
Melissa Hoffman, a registered nurse, has dedicated her career to promoting health and wellness of expectant and new parents. She is certified in childbirth and breastfeeding education. She facilitates a peer-to-peer perinatal mood support group at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She is a founder of Build Your Village of Douglas County and Postpartum Support International of Kansas, organizations dedicated to strengthening education and services for women and families coping with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in Kansas. As state coordinator of Postpartum Support International, Hoffman provides support to families and provides maternal mental health education for communities across Kansas.
“Melissa’s work to increase awareness and address the intersection of mental health and maternal health has had an important, positive impact in our community. She has worked tirelessly to enhance social support for women through education, social support groups and networks.” — Vicki Collie-Akers, of KU Center for Community Health and Development
Aimee Polson is a founding member the Common Ground Program, a community gardening and urban agriculture program created by the City of Lawrence in 2012. She has been the project coordinator for the Garden Incubator at John Taylor Park, Seventh and Walnuts streets, since its inception. Polson has devoted countless hours to designing, building and continuously expanding the unique garden area. The Garden Incubator nurtures beginning gardeners, including children from the Ballard Community Center, and beginning and experienced gardeners of all ages while also providing startup opportunities for aspiring food producers. Produce from the Garden Incubator also has helped feed people in the community. Polson, who works at KU Endowment Association, received a Master of Regional and Community Planning degree from Kansas State University with an emphasis on horticulture therapy.
“More than six years ago, Aimee answered the City’s call for proposals to use available public lands for community gardening initiatives. Aimee’s idea of a Garden Incubator has successfully met and exceeded anyone’s expectations, and it’s because of her dedication and tireless work.” — John Thornburg, Lawrence community gardener