Shoreview resident awarded public health honor

Eugene Nichols, a resident of Shoreview, is the recipient of a 2018 Public Health Award from Ramsey County.

At the April 3 Ramsey County Board of Commissioners meeting, Nichols was recognized by the county for his leadership in curbing youth access to tobacco, and his work in promoting health, mental health and wellbeing. 

Ramsey County Board Chair Jim McDonough said in a press release that award winners demonstrated an understanding “that partnership and collaboration are essential to advancing healthy equity.”

The release listed the many hats Nichols wears. A retired 3M health care division manager, he currently serves as board chair at Open Cities Health Center, a nonprofit community health center operating out of clinics in St. Paul, and co-chairs the Minneapolis-based African American Leadership Forum Health and Wellness Group. For St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health services, he is a member of its advisory committee and chairs its mental health and wellbeing action team. 

Nichols, a New York native, also serves on Shoreview’s Human Rights Commission.

Nominated for his “tireless efforts to engage the community,” said the release, Nichols worked to ensure citizen’s voices are heard and to raise awareness on health issues like eating, active living, tobacco use, nurse home visiting, mental health and wellbeing. 

The release specifically highlighted Nichols’ work as project manager for a recent African-American Leadership Forum survey on menthol tobacco use among Twin Cities blacks. 

Survey data was shared with Ramsey County officials and city governments, informing decisions on a county resolution in support of restricting youth access to menthol products, said the release. The data was also used in a St. Paul City Council ordinance limiting the sale and youth access to flavored menthol products. 

Nichols was out of town in Arizona when the award was handed out at the board meeting. Robin Fraizer, Nichols’ African-American Leadership Forum Health and Wellness Group co-chair, accepted the award on his behalf. She thanked Ramsey County for Nichols and said that he cares deeply about the community, “especially our youth and limiting their access to tobacco.”


— Solomon Gustavo

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