Award winners are honored for significant contributions to public health in North Carolina

DURHAM, NC, March 23, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — The North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors (NCALHD) is thrilled to announce the 2024 recipients of its annual awards. The awards were presented on Wednesday, March 13th during the NCALHD Annual Awards luncheon. Each award is given to honor an individual or organization’s contribution to advancing public health in North Carolina.

Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, Health Director for Granville Vance Public Health, was awarded the Health Director of the Year Award. This award is given to individuals who have been health directors in North Carolina for at least 5 years and who exemplify leadership in public health at the local and state level. Mrs. Harrison was honored for her significant contributions to public health at the local, state and national levels. She has served as the health director at Granville Vance Public Health since 2012. During her tenure, she has created, led and supported a multitude of public health service enhancements and expansions. In her time as a Health Director, she has worked tirelessly to increase funding to put services in place that matter to the community and create a better place to live, work and learn. Mrs. Harrison’s influence and efforts do not end within her county lines, as she has proven herself to be an unwavering champion for local public health in North Carolina and across the nation. Mrs. Harrison has often represented local health departments in media campaigns, on commissions and to statewide leaders. She served as a Task Force Chair for the NC Institute of Medicine’s Future of Local Public Health Task Force and was inducted as a member of the NC Institute of Medicine. She also served as the President of the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) in 2021.

Representative Wayne Sasser, NC House District 67, was awarded the Public Health Legislative Champion Award. This award is given to a legislator(s) that has been an advocate and/or sponsor for significant public health legislation. Representative Sasser, a pharmacist by trade representing Montgomery and Stanly Counties, was recognized for his leadership and commitment to healthcare and public health leadership. In his role as a Chair for the House Health and Appropriations Committees, Representative Sasser has been a champion for Medicaid expansion, sponsored critical public health funding legislation, promoted expanded contraceptive access and has secured funding and resources for addiction treatment across North Carolina.

Tobin Shepherd, REHS, was awarded the Ham Stevens Award. This award is given to individuals who exemplify the qualities of a former health director and friend of public health, Ham Stevens, M.D. Dr. Stevens was largely responsible for bringing administrative health directors and medical health directors together to form the NCALHD. He served as the association’s first president and was a former health director for Buncombe and Duplin Counties. Mr. Shepherd is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, and currently serves as a member of the Lexington City Council. Mr. Shepherd was acknowledged for his local public health advocacy as a former member of the Davidson County Public Health, for his leadership in environmental health through membership in the North Carolina Environmental Health Supervisors Association and for his exemplary overall career in public health.

Durham Public Schools was awarded the Public Health Partner Award. This award is intended to recognize organizations, businesses, and professional associations that have made significant contributions to the advancement and promotion of public health in North Carolina. Durham Public Schools were recognized for their significant contributions to public health in Durham County, including immunization partnerships, innovative nutrition programs, implementation of dental screenings, and firearm violence prevention programs. Durham Public Schools was also a key partner in the Durham County Health Department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors (NCALHD) is an advocacy organization that represents the eighty-six health departments that serve all one hundred counties in North Carolina. NCALHD promotes health, prevent disease, protects the environment in order to ensure the public’s health in North Carolina through leadership, vision, advocacy, and commitment to the principles of public health practice in our local communities and throughout the state.

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