Coastal Health District HIV Director Receives Prestigious National Award

December 1, 2015

HIV director for the Coastal Health District, Susan Alt, BSN, ACRN, has been named the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board’s Certified Nurse of the Year.

The HIV/AIDS Certified Nurse of the Year is a prominent national award that recognizes an AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN) who exemplifies excellence in HIV/AIDS nursing and advances the mission of the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board. Alt, who has maintained certification in HIV/AIDS nursing since 1997, recently received the award at the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) 28th Annual Awards Ceremony in Chicago.

Alt, who has been involved in HIV nursing for more than 31 years, essentially started with Chatham County Health Department’s HIV program in 1989 when there were only 40 patients. The program now serves more than 1,300 active patients throughout the eight-county Coastal Health District and Alt has been there every step of the way.

“Susan’s leadership and guidance has been instrumental in building an HIV program that addresses all the needs of our patients,” said Coastal Health District Health Director, Diane Weems, M.D. “Her commitment to this program and the patients who are part of it has been unwavering from day one. Susan is deeply devoted to making sure that those with HIV get into care, stay in care and get all of the resources they need to live healthy and productive lives.”

Under Alt’s leadership, the Coastal Health District was the first public health district in the state of Georgia to conduct HIV clinical trials. The District is currently engaged in 16 trials providing much needed opportunities for patients facing the most difficult obstacles. She has developed strong partnerships that have ultimately benefited the patients and community she serves.

Alt has influenced the quality of HIV care throughout Georgia through her contribution on statewide committees and workgroups including the Georgia AIDS Task Force, the Public Health Nurse Protocol Committee, the Georgia Ryan White Part B Program Quality Management Team and the Ryan White Part B Program Leadership Group. She also serves as a mentor to other Ryan White program leaders, providing technical assistance to programs throughout the state.

According to the ANAC award recipient description, “Her work on the development of HIV/AIDS nursing protocols helped define HIV/AIDS nursing practice of Georgia public health nurses.”

“The most important things to Susan are preventing the spread of HIV and making sure that those living with HIV are treated not only medically but also with respect and compassion,” said Weems. “She is most deserving of this recognition and all of us at the Coastal Health District are incredibly proud of her accomplishments.”

Visit www.gachd.org to learn more about the Coastal Health District’s HIV/AIDS services and public health programs. 

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