The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) paused to celebrate the good work and good health of its employees. On May 21, the department celebrated its firstl Employee Recognition and Wellness Day.
|Employees gathered at the GBA Freight Depot for DPH's first Employee Recognition and Wellness Day.|
State DPH employees attended the half-day event to focus on doing well and feeling well. The event also recognized employees who embody DPH’s core values of excellence. Chief of Staff James Howgate announced the winners of six awards, each representing one of those values:
- Mauri Smith, Award for Excellence in Accountability and Transparency
- Paula Brown, Award for Excellence in Collaboration and Teamwork
- Michelle Kirk, Award for Excellence in Commitment and Excellence
- Shelley Hanson, Award for Excellence in Customer Service and People
- Jane Kelly, M.D., Award for Excellence in Innovation and Science
- Michelle Allen, the Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in Leadership
DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., praised employees for their roles in the department’s progress and accomplishments since it became a stand-alone agency in 2011, including dramatic reductions in Georgia’s pre-term birth rate, a total ban on tobacco on the state’s public college and university campuses and an increased focus on childhood fitness through Georgia SHAPE.
“This is all because of you, because of your hard work and dedication to public health in Georgia,” Fitzgerald said.
After sampling some healthy snacks and taking a few dance breaks, attendees also got a “pep talk” from Paul Wesselmann, an inspirational speaker who focused on the importance of being well in order to do good work.
Attendees also got a sneak preview of DPH’s new Be Healthy campaign, the Office of Worksite Wellness’ new educational campaign that focuses on getting healthy by emphasizing a variety of healthy habits employees can adopt.
Since the founding of its worksite wellness program, DPH has been dedicated to promoting wellness at work by encouraging employees to be more physically active, quit smoking and adopt healthy eating habits. Worksite Wellness Coordinator Susanne Koch said it’s also important to recognize that the working environment plays a big role in other aspects of wellness, such as social, intellectual and emotional health.
“Employee recognition is directly tied into wellness,” she said. “We spend a large part of our lives at our workplaces. It’s important that our employees are recognized for the good work they do and that they feel good about being here.”