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GlaxoSmithKline Applauds North Carolina's Child Advocates

WILMINGTON, N.C., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- North Carolina's public health professionals today were honored with GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Awards for improving children's health through a variety of programs, including school health nurses, nutrition education, immunizations and better access to care for at-risk families. All nominees were recognized and winners announced at an awards ceremony in Wilmington during the North Carolina Public Health Association's annual meeting.

The awards program, which is overseen by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, ties directly to GlaxoSmithKline's goal of delivering services of value, said Deirdre P. Connelly, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline. "North Carolina's public health professionals consistently deliver effective health services to our communities in innovative, creative, and cost-conscious ways," she said. "We applaud them for the value they bring to people's lives all over the state."

This year's awards focus on outstanding collaborative programs that affect the health of children in all nomination categories. The awards, which include monetary grants, were presented in these categories:

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award, given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving children's health services through a series of achievements, went to Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH; Gillings Visiting Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill; George Greger-Holt, MEd; Director of Student Services, Chatham County Schools, Pittsboro; and Peter Morris, MD; Medical Director, Wake County Human Services, Raleigh.
  • The Individual Recognition Award, given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to improving children's health services, went to Jill Kerr, FNP, MS, MPH; Family Nurse Practitioner, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' Pre-K/Head Start Program, Chapel Hill.
  • Public Health Staff Recognition Awards are given to full-time or part-time employees or retirees of local health departments in recognition of outstanding service in preventive health activities in their local communities. This year, they were presented to members of the Forsyth County Department of Public Health who serve the Sunnyside Medical Clinic in Winston-Salem: Public Health Nurses Sandra Clodfelter, Linda Hill, Rhonda Michels, Natosha Moffitt and Judy Southern, and Lab Technicians Melinda Hull, Melanie McCoy and Blake Pate.
  • Local Health Department Recognition Awards are made to departments that have developed innovative programs producing measurable, sustainable outcomes. They were awarded to the Durham County Health Department (Durham) for its DINE for LIFE Program, the Mecklenburg County Health Department (Charlotte) for its School Health Program—H1N1 Initiative, and the Wilkes County Health Department (Wilkesboro) for its Mobile Expanded School Health Program, known as MESH.

The GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Awards were established to honor local health departments, public health staff and individual citizens for their dedication to improving child health. A committee of healthcare professionals established by the North Carolina Public Health Association chose the award recipients. More information about the award winners follows.

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH

Gillings Visiting Professor

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Dr. Leah Devlin has spent more than 25 years on the front lines of public health, including eight years as State Health Director, where she fought for children's health programs, particularly funding for school nurse positions. She is known for her visionary and coalition-building leadership style that led to many changes, including making North Carolina the first state to mandate accreditation for local health departments. Dr. Devlin retired as State Health Director in 2009 and has been appointed as a Gillings Visiting Professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where she continues to champion preventive efforts on behalf of children everywhere, partly by educating new classes of public health advocates.

George Greger-Holt, MEd

Director of Student Services

Chatham County Schools

When it comes to students, drug prevention and awareness are always on the mind of George Greger-Holt. He discovered his lifelong passion as an adolescent therapist in the 1980s, coordinating drug treatment counseling programs. As director of Student Services for Chatham County Schools, he supervises counselors, social workers and nurses. He also is in charge of school safety initiatives, dropout prevention, character education, and after school programs. His greatest love is overseeing the federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program and school-based mental health programs.

Peter Morris, MD

Medical Director

Wake County Human Services

In his work as medical director for Wake County Human Services, Dr. Peter Morris serves as mentor, coach and resource for many people in the community, and as a champion for children, particularly those who are underserved, at risk or have special needs. His demonstrated leadership and dedication have helped create successful programs in Wake County like Smart Start; the Maternal Depression Project; the Young Child Mental Health Initiative; Project Access, an indigent medical care safety net program; and Pediatric Developmental Surveillance, which increases the identification of children with developmental delays.

Individual Recognition Award Recipient

Jill Kerr, FNP, MS, MPH

Family Nurse Practitioner

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools'

 Pre-K/Head Start Program

Jill Kerr, a family nurse practitioner, speaks Spanish, French and Arabic, which helps her communicate better with families in her work with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' Pre-K/Head Start Program. But her favorite language is any conversation that leads to better school attendance, or learning that a child has gotten the proper treatment for asthma or dental or vision problems. By working to eliminate health disparities among the students she serves, Ms. Kerr stands out as an exceptional nurse.

Public Health Staff Recognition Award Recipients

Sandra Clodfelter, Linda Hill, Rhonda Michels, Natosha Moffitt and Judy Southern, Melinda Hull, Melanie McCoy and Blake Pate

Public Health Staff, Sunnyside Medical Clinic

Forsyth County Department of Public Health

Public health nurses Sandra Clodfelter, Linda Hill, Rhonda Michels, Natosha Moffitt and Judy Southern, along with lab technicians Melinda Hull, Melanie McCoy and Blake Pate, make a formidable team when they join forces with other health professionals to provide a free community clinic for children in the Southside area of Winston-Salem. The long-standing collaborative relationship with Sunnyside Ministries provides vaccinations and medical care—not to mention smiles, hugs and love—to children of families with no insurance and little money.  

Local Health Department Award Recipients

Durham County Health Department

DINE for LIFE Program

In Durham County, students are not learning to eat well just for a little while—they are learning to DINE for LIFE! Taste tests, core nutrition messages, energy balance calculations, gardening programs and tips teach the whole family to have fun with food. DINE for LIFE stands for Durham's Innovative Nutrition Education for Lasting Improvements in Fitness and Eating. This unique school and community-based nutrition education and behavior change program targets at-risk families and children.

Mecklenburg County Health Department

School Health Program—H1N1 Initiative

In 2009, as H1N1 flu pandemic warnings loomed, the issue of public health protection became the central focus for local, state and national public health agencies. The Mecklenburg County Health Department, serving the largest community in North Carolina, crafted a comprehensive, collaborative approach to educating the public and providing immunizations—one that serves as a tested and successfully executed plan for pandemics in the future. In all, about 65,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine were administered; in the public schools alone, 42,000 students were immunized at 291 clinics.

Wilkes County Health Department

MESH—Mobile Expanded School Health Program

Adolescent health is on a roll in Wilkes County, after local public health officials came up with a novel and popular approach to treating teens: a large mobile unit that brings health care to them! MESH, the Mobile Expanded School Health Program, is the state's first mobile health center for teens, and last year served more than 1,400 students. Adolescents face serious health challenges—asthma, obesity or anorexia, diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, and even suicide—but are often the least likely to get medical care. By providing a mobile clinic that is cost-effective and flexible, the Wilkes County Health Department has eliminated many barriers to students' access to care.

For additional information about the awards and the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation visit our website at

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation supports activities in the state that help meet the educational and health needs of today's society and future generations. The Foundation focuses on programs that emphasize the understanding and application of health, science and education at all academic and professional levels through a traditional grants program, a Ribbon of Hope grant program, and two signature programs: the GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Awards and the GlaxoSmithKline Women In Science Scholars Program.

SOURCE North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation
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