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Associate Professor Doris Boutain wins 2013 MLK Community Service Award


Date: January 23, 2013
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin,, 206-221-2456

Doris Boutain, Associate Professor, PCH and Project Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) grant in Community Health Nursing, 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 last year. The honor was part of the annual tribute to the slain civil rights leader organized by UW Health Sciences and UW Medicine.

Doris Boutain MLK award 2013Doris Boutain MLK award 2013Boutain worked to improve food, beverage, and physical activity offerings to children and youth mostly from minority and low-income backgrounds. She utilized existing community resources, such as the public health department, grocery stores, churches, and local non-profit organizations, to collaboratively form a prevention partnership. Through that collaborative partnership, nutrition guidelines, and healthy eating and active living policies were implemented in six churches. Soda machines were also removed from five churches, and bylaws were changed in a local grocery store to reduce the price of healthy foods. Senator Adam Kline and Representatives Sharon Santos and Eric Pettigrew wrote letters of support for this project to improve access to health in Central and Southeast Seattle.

 Boutain’s nomination letter notes her commitment to improving access to health resources for these groups and helping to ensure that 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, that the teams are trained in policy development, implementation, and communication. 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.”

2013 MLK Award winners2013 MLK Award winnersBoutain’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 set-up online access to the initiative that faith-based organizations across the country can access. Faith-based healthy eating projects in several cities across the country have contacted her for consultation, including Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Las Vegas. Boutain has received national attention for her work on this project, as a “local health champion” from the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as one of 18 local individuals for their tireless effort to address health inequities and improve the community’s health, especially as it relates to obesity prevention (Feb. 23, 2012). She also received a thank you letter from First Lady Michelle Obama (Nov. 10, 2011) for promoting health and wellness. 

 “I am humbled to be a part of the national efforts to create health policies in settings were children, youth, and parents play, worship, and shop,” said Boutain. “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.”

 The Annual Martin Luther King celebration event also featured performances by local musicians and dancers, passionate speakers and awardees from across the health sciences schools.

You can view photos of the event on the School of Nursing's Facebook Page.


The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently a top-rated nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 2 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2011, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit