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Ten Extraordinary Americans Recognized for Local Innovation in Improving Health and Health Care
Date:10/29/2008

elp the underserved in his community. In 2004, Black founded FocusFirst, where trained college students provide vision screenings to pre-school children throughout Birmingham, specifically in low-income areas. Black believes poor vision has an impact on how well the children perform academically. Since the program's launch, FocusFirst has provided free, technologically advanced vision screenings for more than 40,000 children in all 67 counties throughout the state, helping to ensure many of these children begin their education with appropriate vision care.

2) ANITA BUEL, Director, Deaf Community Health Worker Project, Inner Grove Heights, Minnesota

As a Deaf person, Anita Buel is well acquainted with the language, comprehension and communication barriers experienced by many in the same position when seeking medical care. Members of the Deaf community are often excluded from the national health agenda and are rarely mentioned when talking about people for whom spoken English is a second language.

After being diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer as a young mother and not having adequate resources devoted to the Deaf community for her disease, Buel's leadership through the Deaf Community Health Worker program is responsible for training members of the Deaf community to help Deaf patients access medical services and understand medical issues in their language. Three years ago, a Deaf person with a serious health care problem had no support at the doctor's office. Today, thanks to Buel's efforts, Deaf Community Health Workers' services are now covered by Medical Assistance in Minnesota.

3) DEANN CANUTESON, President of the Full Life Corporation, Kealakekua, Hawaii

As a junior in high school, Deann Canuteson visited a residential care facility for people with developmental disabilities and was shocked at the way people lived. That visit so profoundly impacted Canuteson that she has dedicated her adult life to building a world wher
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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