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Washington nursing professor wins 2013 MLK Community Service Award

Doris Boutain, RN

Doris Boutain, RN, PhD, associate professor in psychosocial and community health, and project director of the DNP grant in Community Health Nursing at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle, received a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award Jan. 17 in recognition of her efforts on the Moving Together in Faith and Health grant, completed in 2012. The honor was part of the UW Center for Health Sciences and the school of medicine’s annual tribute to the slain civil rights leader.

Boutain worked to improve food, beverage and physical activity offerings to children and youth mostly from minority and low-income backgrounds, according to a news release. She used existing community resources, such as the public health department, grocery stores, churches and local nonprofits to form a prevention partnership. Through that collaborative partnership, nutrition guidelines and healthy eating and active living policies were implemented in six churches. Soda machines also were removed from five churches, and bylaws were changed in a local grocery store to reduce the price of healthy foods. Washington State Sen. Adam Kline and state representatives Sharon Tomiko Santos and Eric Pettigrew wrote letters of support for the project to improve access to health in central and southeast Seattle, according to the release.

Boutain’s nomination letter notes her commitment to improving access to health resources and helping to ensure the impact would extend far beyond the lifespan of the grant project. She is lauded for her vision as a community leader and change agent.

“Dr. Boutain has been instrumental every step of the way in ensuring that the ‘church change teams’ understand the importance of healthy eating and active living, the necessity of policies for sustainability, [and] that the teams are trained in policy development, implementation and communication,” her nominator wrote. “The members of the churches are eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water and even being more physically active at their events and in the classrooms.”

Boutain’s vision for improving access to healthy foods extends beyond the Seattle area. The project created a community health model that can be replicated in other communities throughout the nation, and it set up online access to the initiative in faith-based organizations across the country can access. Workers in faith-based healthy-eating projects in several cities across the country — including Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Las Vegas — have contacted Boutain for consultation.

For her work on this project, Boutain received national attention from the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for her efforts to address health inequities and improve the community’s health, especially as it relates to obesity prevention, according to the release. She also received a thank-you letter from First Lady Michelle Obama, for promoting health and wellness.

“I am humbled to be a part of the national efforts to create health policies in settings where children, youth and parents play, worship and shop,” Boutain said in the release. “This work was achieved with the initial support of public health — Seattle and King County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The support of local leaders is overwhelming.”

View photos of the event at

For information, visit

By | 2020-04-15T09:06:50-04:00 March 11th, 2013|Categories: Regional, West|0 Comments

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