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Local Health Department Heroes Honored

May 26, 2010

Local health departments across the country have been recognized for their efforts in responding to the H1N1 pandemic. This spring, several departments and exceptional individuals were publicly awarded for organizing and implementing prevention and vaccination strategies.

Town Came Together to Fight H1N1

In Arlington, VA, a community of healthcare providers and emergency responders came together to help in the H1N1 vaccination efforts. This past year, Arlington was able to vaccinate 7,000 people against H1N1 influenza, seasonal influenza, or pneumonia. This represents an increase of 343 percent from the previous year. “This was a town-wide effort, and it succeeded because of the cooperation within the town’s departments,” said Christine Connolly, director of Arlington’s Health and Human Services Department.

On March 31, the Arlington Board of Health in Virginia honored the following:

  • The more than 100 Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers who were instrumental in implementing the vaccination clinics.
  • The School Department, Police, Fire, Department of Public Works, and Arlington Emergency Management Agency.
  • Individuals, for outstanding contributions. One particularly exceptional volunteer, a retired pharmacist, was able to help out at over 17 vaccine clinics.

Dedication and Hard Work Brought Efficiency to Vaccination Clinics

On May 13, at a meeting of the county’s board of health, the Health District of Northern Larimer, CO, presented the 2010 Joseph Jabaily Public Health Hero Award to Executive Director Carol Plock. The award is given annually in honor and remembrance of the many contributions to public health by Joseph Jabaily, MD, a Loveland neurologist who died in a charity bicycle race in 2004. 

"Nearly every one of the 18,000 people who were vaccinated through the H1N1 mass vaccination clinics were in some way impacted by the assistance of the health district," said Adrienne LeBailly, MD, director of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. "Under Carol''s vision and leadership, the health district stepped up from the start, offered assistance with planning, volunteer recruitment, staffing, communications, and then worked side-by-side with the health department in key H1N1-related functions."

In Eureka, CA—as part of National Public Health Week—several health officials were honored for their hard work during the H1N1 vaccination campaign.

  • Kimberly Comet with the Humboldt County Office of Education was “instrumental in facilitating collaboration” between school and health officials during the school-based vaccination clinics last fall. In order to achieve high rates of vaccination among the area’s schoolchildren, she dedicated herself to working seven days a week with the primary liaison at the public health department—ensuring that legal concerns were addressed, resolving any issues or problems, and allowing the clinics to run smoothly as planned.
  • Briley Stiffler, an OB/GYN in Eureka, organized vaccination clinics, in addition to providing extra storage space for vaccine to the public health department. She also assisted in redistributing the vaccine, helping to fill a need within the department that could not be met with staffing and resources available.

On May 12, the Delaware County Health Department, OH, gave a Health Care Heroes Award to one person:

  • Susan Morris, preparedness coordinator for the health department, for overseeing the H1N1 vaccination program that resulted in 25,000 local residents being immunized.

Pinal County, AZ, held three successful H1N1 mass vaccination clinics throughout the region. "Over 4,400 people were immunized in these three mass vaccination clinics," said Lisa Garcia, assistant county manager for Health and Human Services. "That effort made a positive impact on the health of Pinal County young people and adults."

  • During their meeting on May 19, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors honored Health and Human Services Directors Tom Schryer with an Award of Excellence for his work in organizing mass vaccination clinics in orderly and efficient manner.

At the 2010 Governor’s Safety and Health Conference in Alaska, the Governor’s Special Achievement Award was given to the following:

  • the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Health for the distributing 7,500 H1N1 vaccinations in the community and an additional 19,000 through public school.

Has your local health department been recognized? Tell us how by commenting below.


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