Public Health Employees Receive Statewide Recognition

At their monthly meeting held on Tuesday, the Transylvania County Board of Health officially congratulated several Transylvania Public Health employees for awards received at two recent statewide conferences.

The N.C. Public Health Association presented awards to a number of Transylvania Public Health employees at its 2015 Fall Educational Conference held September 16-18 in Winston-Salem. NCPHA is the leading professional association in the state for people dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and environment of all North Carolinians.

Environmental Health Program Specialist Patricia Hawkins, REHS, received NCPHA’s Rankin Award for her work in environmental health. First presented in 1955 and named in honor of Dr. Watson Smith Rankin, this award is given annually to the person who has made an outstanding contribution to public health in North Carolina over a period of several years.

Environmental Health Supervisor Jim Boyer, REHS, was identified as an NCPHA All-Star. This award is given each year to a handful of individuals throughout the state who epitomize public health within their agencies.

NCPHA also recognized Transylvania Public Health for its “many, varied and dedicated efforts in the essential response to Ebola prevention.” Nursing Director Sharon Cameron, RN, Preparedness Coordinator Anita Glance, Communicable Disease Nurse Kathy Kelley, RN, and Clinical Nursing Supervisor Cathy Nicholson, RN, received certificates of appreciation for their communicable disease response efforts related to Ebola preparedness as well as last fall’s pertussis outbreak.

Environmental Health Specialist Stacey Robbins, REHS, was also recognized with an appreciation plaque for her service as vice president of the Environmental Health Section of NCPHA for 2014-2015.

In addition, the Transylvania County WIC Program was recognized at the North Carolina WIC Conference held September 17 in Durham. WIC is a US Department of Agriculture program that provides supplemental food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and healthcare referrals to pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women as well as infants and children up to age five.

WIC Program Director Beth Hyatt and her staff—Adinda Morgan, Laura Rinehart and Cloey Whitmire—were acknowledged for their work to support breastfeeding among women in Transylvania County. Transylvania County had both the highest percentage rank in breastfeeding initiation among women in WIC (76.5 percent compared to 58.6 percent statewide) and the highest percentage rank in breastfeeding up to six months of age among infants in WIC (31.8 percent compared to 20 percent statewide).

Transylvania Public Health is dedicated to improving and protecting the health of all people in Transylvania County by preventing disease and injury, promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors, protecting against environmental hazards, ensuring access to needed services, and responding to outbreaks and disasters. For more information, call (828) 884-3135.