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Local Health Department of the Year Award

In the Spotlight
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Local health departments are the local stewards of public health--known for helping to ensure the safety of the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe.  This award recognizes and honors outstanding accomplishment of Local Health Departments across the country for their innovation, creativity, and impact on communities. More »

Local Health Department of the Year Award Winners

Each year, NACCHO receives an overwhelming number of applications and after review, selects a winner in each of the three size categories (small, medium, large). Each of the three finalists in the small, medium, and large category shows creativity, innovation, sufficient evidence of outcomes and impact on the community, and collaboration with partners, community and key stakeholders.

The 2015 winners:
Small: Giles County Health Department, Pulaski, TN
Medium: Sevier County Health Department, Seiverville, TN
Large: Florida Department of Health in Broward County

The 2014 winners:
Small: Macon County Public Health Department, Franklin, North Carolina
Medium: Whatcom County Health Department, Bellingham, Washington
Large: Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago, Illinois

The 2013 winners:
Small: Crook County Public Health Department, Prineville Oregon
Medium: Gaston County Health Department, Gastonia, North Carolina
Large: Denver Public Health Department, Denver, Colorado

More »

2015 Application Criteria

 lhdaward-fornaccho-lowresThe Local Health Department of the Year Award annually recognizes and honors local health departments that employ innovation and creativity to accomplish the goal of health and equity. Local health department practice is entering a new era that is changing traditional roles and core functions in dynamic new ways.

This year, NACCHO will recognize Operational Excellence in Public Health.
Recently, local health departments (LHDs) across the country have faced challenges such as budget cuts and staff layoffs; redefining public health’s role in the wake of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); and emerging and reemerging infectious disease. Today’s LHD leaders must demonstrate innovation through partnership and collaboration in order to leverage scarce resources and propel LHDs into the next era. LHDs that have responded to this challenge by expanding strategic and innovative planning capabilities are committed to leading public health into the next decade. 

Operational excellence originates in an LHD’s ability to align performance management with continuous quality improvement. LHDs must strive for operational excellence by measuring progress against LHD operational goals and developing a workforce skilled to meet the challenges in increasingly diverse communities. The emergence of Ebola in the United States, for example, has raised awareness of emergency preparedness and response among LHDs, requiring them to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.

More often than not, new ways of doing business come on the heels of needed innovation in public health service delivery and response to emerging public health threats. The 2015 LHD of the Year Award highlights those LHDs that are helping to clear the way for new paths in operational excellence.

Applicants are asked to provide a detailed yet concise description (2,000 words maximum) of how their LHD’s innovative work to ensure operational excellence as a way to position itself for the future.

Your essay must describe the following:
Issue: Summarize the issue or challenge that led the LHD to establish/embark on this journey.
Goals/Objectives: Summarize the LHD’s initial goal(s) and any measurable objectives to achieve the goal(s).
Implementation: Summarize how the LHD implemented the work, including resources used (e.g., staff time, materials, budget); activities undertaken (strategic planning processes, quality improvement projects, performance management implementation); and, if applicable, collaboration with partners or the community. 
Outcomes: Summarize the results of implementing these innovative techniques and how the LHD measured or evaluated results.
Recommendations: What advice would you give other LHDs seeking to embark on a similar journey? Lessons learned?

Application Overview

Application Process
Applications will be accepted January 1 through March 31, 2015. Applicants must log in to MyNACCHO and select NACCHO Applications (no paper copies will be considered). A select number of recipients are chosen for the Local Health Department of the Year Award. Recipients are recognized based on the size of the LHD, which is determined by the population served. Small (<25,000-49,999), Medium (50,000-499,999), Large (500,000 and above), and quality of the application. 

All applicants are required to pay an application fee (per application) to cover the administrative costs and overall maintenance of the program. The fees are based on the size of the LHD—small ($25), medium ($55), large ($75) and must be paid during the submission process.


In order to qualify for this award, LHDs must be active (dues paying) members of NACCHO. If you are unsure of your LHDs membership status, please contact NACCHO’s Membership Department at or call (877) 533-1320.

Judging and Evaluation

Applications are judged on the contribution/impact to the community, health improvement, originality, creativity, uniqueness, and overall contribution to promoting public health.  Applications are reviewed by NACCHO's Awards Committee in collaboration with subject matter experts. Applicants are reviewed to ensure that their membership is in good standing with NACCHO. 

A select number of recipients will be chosen (based on size of the population served and quality of the application) for the Local Health Department of the Year Award. Up to three awardees (gold, silver, and bronze) will be selected for each LHD size category.  Award recipients will be notified in the spring, and will be recognized at the NACCHO Annual Conference at the Grand Award Ceremony in Kansas City, MO on July 8, 2015.