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Distinguished Graduate Award Recipient

The Distinguished Graduate Awards recognizes graduates who’ve made extraordinary contributions to the nation and their community. It honors character, accomplishment, and service that represent the university’s mission of service and leadership in a diverse global society.

Prasida Khanal | 2017 Award Recipient

Prasida KhanalPrasida Khanal, MPH, BDS is the Planner Principal State for the Oral Health Program in the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Prasida is a foreign-trained dentist who earned a Master in Public Health with honors at American Public University System in 2015. She was the recipient of the 2015 President’s Award.

At present, Prasida is collaborating with the MDH team to lead the Early Dental Disease Prevention Initiative (EDDPI). EDDPI is a statewide initiative and an official bill in Minnesota to improve the oral health of prenatal to three subpopulations. Her primary role is to support MDH, to collaborate with communities of color and recent immigrants, to develop educational materials for non-English speaking caregivers of infants and toddlers and to distribute them at relevant sites within the targeted communities. Prasida has also been working with EDDPI Advisory Committee and stakeholders to identify best practices within dental public health practice for multi-ethnic communities. Together, they are developing and translating culturally and linguistically appropriate low literacy and hands-on educational materials and information.

Before joining the MDH Oral Health Program, Prasida was a Health Services Manager for CAPRW Head Start in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. She managed the comprehensive health services for approximately 1,400 Medicaid eligible children. She collaborated with University of Minnesota, School of Nursing to provide free child and teen check-ups for Head Start children during the regular school hour. Her health services’ team provided case management, free transportation, and interpretation services which significantly improved the number of children receiving timely screenings.

In the past, Prasida has received awards and recognition from the United Nations for her volunteer work. Prasida has also founded Rebuilding Health in Nepal, a community-based non-profit, as her commitment to public health.