DPH’s Chronic Disease Section Staff Wins Three GPHA Awards

April 28, 2015

The 86th Annual Georgia Public Health Association (GPHA) meeting gave the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Chronic Disease Prevention Section a lot to celebrate.

Led by Yvette Daniels, J.D., Division of Health Promotion director, and Jean O’Connor, J.D., MPH, DrPH, Chronic Disease Prevention Section director, team members gathered to honor three of their own for winning a 2015 GPHA award – Barbara Crane, MN, APRN; Jimmie H. Smith, M.D., MPH; and Beth W. Daniel.

With more than four decades in nursing, Crane was awarded the Barfield Nursing Section Award, an honor that was initiated in 1983 to honor Dorothy Barfield who served as the state’s chief nurse. Crane earned the award for her successful public health efforts that help reduce cancer disparities among women at increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

As the Deputy Section Director within the Chronic Disease Prevention Program, Crane is responsible for the Breast Cancer Genomics project – an innovative effort that merges public health insights with genetic testing. Women armed with knowledge gained through the project can increase monitoring for breast and ovarian cancer early when they are best treatable or reduce the risk of these diseases via prophylactic surgeries.

“I co-authored the study, ‘Implementing a Screening Tool for Identifying Patients at Risk for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: A Statewide Initiative,’ which was published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology,” said Crane. “When the project began, Georgia was one of three states to be funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to do this work. Today, the B-RST screening tool, developed by Cecelia Bellcross, PhD, CGC, has been incorporated into our screening program and cited by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) as a recommended practice.”

Dr. Jimmie Smith, a 25-year health professional and health promotions coordinator for the North Central Health District, received the Al Dohany Award for Community Service. This honor recognizes a public health leader who has made a positive contribution to community health through strategic partnerships.

He earned the award for his role as liaison for the Macon Health Department’s participation as an academic health department (AHD) in conjunction with Mercer University’s College of Health Professions. AHDs are a formal affiliation between an academic institution and a public health practice organization that provides students learning and training opportunities.

Dr. Smith also serves as an assistant professor of practice for Mercer University’s College of Health Professions. The relationship he’s fostered with the university enables Master of Public Health students to complete internships, community service hours and capstone projects while collaborating with community organizations through DPH. 

Since becoming an AHD, the health department has increased the number of MPH interns working with DPH throughout the district.  

“This award provides validation that the partnership is having positive benefits to public health outcomes,” said Dr. Smith “The academic health department was created to foster practical experiences for matriculating MPH students and increase research and workforce development opportunities among practicing public health professionals in the North Central Health District.” 

With 10 years in public health at the LaGrange Health District as Health Promotions Coordinator, Daniel is the recipient of the Kathy Miner Health Education and Promotion Award that recognizes outstanding achievements in the area of health education and promotion.

With funding from her program, Daniel has partnered with the Georgia Coalition for Physical Activity and Nutrition (GPAN) to provide Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters training for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutritionists and dietetic interns. Daniel also partnered with the WIC program in her district to coordinate 48 cooking demos and grocery store tours in underserved areas in Fayette, Henry, Spalding and Troup counties.

“I am truly honored to receive this award,” said Daniel. “Health promotion coordinators have the unique privilege of serving in a variety of fields such as tobacco use prevention and cessation, nutrition and physical activity. It’s always fun and educational to partner with different organizations on chronic disease prevention projects. I admire the work accomplished by other health promotion coordinators across the state and appreciate the knowledge they share with me.”

For more information about the awards and 2016 nomination opportunities, visit GPHA online, call 404-861-8423 or request information by emailing director@gapha.org

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