WebMD has announced the winners of the 2021 WebMD Health Heroes Awards, which this year recognize the contributions of individuals working tirelessly on the frontlines of the pandemic. Now in its 14th year, the awards honor the everyday heroes who risk their own health and safety to make a difference in communities impacted by COVID-19.
Amy Denet Deal, Founder of Orenda Tribe clothing company and Member of the Navajo Nation Diné Tribe in New Mexico, has been awarded the Trailblazer Award for 2021. A highly sought-after fashion executive in Los Angeles, Denet Deal moved to New Mexico to reintegrate with her Navajo Nation tribe (Diné) after her daughter graduated high school, and she was shocked by the lack of basic infrastructure and access to food (nearly one-third of Navajo homes are without running water, 15,000 lack electricity, and there are only 13 supermarkets serving an area of 27,000 square miles).
When COVID-19 hit, Denet Deal realized she had the skills to fill some of her community’s critical needs. She transitioned her upcycled clothing company, Orenda Tribe, to manufacturing face masks, and called in connections at companies like Patagonia and Outdoor Voices for fabric. To finance her efforts, Denet Deal solicited donations and held fundraisers, including one with the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jewel, raising enough to fund 42,000 care boxes for the children of the Diné community and their families.
Over the last eight months, Denet Deal and the group of female volunteers who make up her Dzil Asdzáán (Mountain Woman) Command Center have raised more than $835,000 and have distributed more than 1 million PPE units and 1 million servings of food.
WebMD’s editorial team, composed of board-certified health care professionals and award-winning journalists, selected the recipients. The winners are featured in a special edition of the April/May/June issue of WebMD Magazine. Additional 2021 Health Heroes include: Anthony Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award; Taft Foley III, Entrepreneur and High School Student, Houston who was awarded the Innovator Award; and essential workers nationwide, who were awarded the Frontline Champions Award.