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(Many Paths)
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Retired Arizona Nurse Among 10 Americans Chosen To Receive National Award
by Jennifer Combs - IQ Solutions, Inc.
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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presents 2009 Community Health Leaders Award to Frances Stout, R.N., for her work to address the needs of elderly Native Americans

PRINCETON, NJ — The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced its selection of Frances Stout, a retired registered nurse and chairperson of the Tohono O'odham Nursing Care Authority (TONCA) in Sells, Ariz., to receive a Community Health Leaders Award. She is one of 10 extraordinary Americans who will receive the RWJF honor for 2009 at a ceremony this evening at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Stout helped to establish the first skilled nursing facility for elderly Native Americans for the Tohono O'odham Nation, a federally recognized Indian tribe. Previously, the elderly had to leave the reservation for skilled nursing care. With the benefit of her 33-year nursing career, Stout contributed to the creation of the 60-bed skilled nursing facility, the first of its kind on the Tohono O'odham Nation reservation. She has also helped to create the elder care consortium, a coalition of entities within the Tohono O'odham Nation that are working to address the wide-ranging issues affecting elderly Native Americans, including transportation, housing and safety.

"Frances Stout had already spent a lifetime providing health care for people as a nurse," said Janice Ford Griffin, national program director for the award. "After she retired, she found a new calling working to address the health care needs of aging Native Americans within her own tribe, the Tohono O'odham Nation."

This year, more than 532 nominations were submitted for the 2009 Community Health Leaders Award from across the United States. Through a rigorous process, the Foundation selected 10 outstanding individuals, all of whom have worked to improve health conditions in their communities with exceptional creativity, courage and commitment.

"I am deeply honored by this award, and I hope it brings attention to the plight of our elderly and the challenges we face on Indian reservations," said Stout. "I share this award with all of the TONCA board members and the Legislative Council of the Nation who had the passion and courage to pursue such an ambitious and important project."

The chair of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation, Austin Nunez, said that Stout essentially launched a second career by agreeing to serve as vice chair of the San Xavier District Council Health Committee. "It is not simply her skill set that makes her irreplaceable, but also her passion to improve the health of our O'odham people, and to commit herself and others to that task," Nunez said.

The award honors exceptional men and women from all over the country who overcome significant obstacles to tackle some of the most challenging health and health care problems facing their communities and the nation. The Community Health Leaders Award elevates the work of the leaders by raising awareness of their extraordinary contributions through national visibility, a $125,000 award and networking opportunities.

There are nine other 2009 Community Health Leaders in addition to Stout. Their work includes oral health services for remote communities; self-directed care for persons with physical disabilities; a marriage between health care and legal aid; care for victims of torture; culturally sensitive and appropriate health care for Cambodian-American immigrants; low-cost family planning and health care for men and boys; a mentoring program to help disadvantaged youth pursue health careers; and mental health services for the underserved.

Since 1993 the program has honored more than 160 Community Health Leaders in nearly every state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Nominations may be submitted for the 2010 Community Health Leaders Award through October 15, 2009. For details on how to submit a nomination, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria, visit


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Community Health Leaders (CHL) Award to recognize individuals who overcome daunting obstacles to improve health and health care in their communities. Today, there are 173 outstanding Community Health Leaders in nearly all states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit

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