The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Child Health Recognition Awards program honors local health departments, public health staff and individuals for innovative, collaborative programs that improve the lives of North Carolina’s children. The Foundation works with the
North Carolina Public Health Association (NCPHA) to coordinate the program, and all nominees and award recipients are recognized at a luncheon at NCPHA’s annual meeting. Recognition awards are presented in four categories: Lifetime Achievement, Individual, Local Health Departments and Public Health Staff. The awards include grants and scholarships that promote public health study and programs that benefit children. Up to three health departments and three to five individuals are honored annually.

Nominations are due by May 31st each year.

Public health professionals know that providing care and services for families and children can be done in many different ways and many different places. Sometimes, children come to clinics for health services; other times, services come to them in the form of mobile dental clinics and health fairs or through school nurse programs. Mothers of autistic children meet for lunch to support each other through challenges, while elsewhere new mothers meet with supportive coaches who teach them to breastfeed their babies. And the health "clinic" may not be inside at all but in the open air, with children tending school and community gardens to learn about nutrition and combat obesity with fresh vegetables and fruit.

While health care can be delivered in many different ways, North Carolina's health care providers have these traits in common: passion, dedication and commitment to the children and families they serve. The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation salutes all public health professionals in our state who work harder every year to deliver more services in times of great need and tight budgets. We applaud their creativity and innovation and are honored to present the 2018 Child Health Recognition Awards.

The 2018 awards were presented on December 12, 2018 at the NCPHA annual meeting.

2018 Child Health Award Recipients:

Jean Kesler Vukoson, RN, Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award
From Manteo to Murphy—that’s the reach of Jean Vukoson in bringing better health care to North Carolina’s children. She spent her career in nursing, beginning with direct patient care and moving on to the public health field in the late 1990s. As a state child health nurse consultant for the last decade of her career before retirement, she helped health departments serve as medical homes for children and youth with special health care needs and to serve as resources for children in foster care. She forged relationships between health departments, Community Care of N.C. networks, school nurses and social services providers to address obesity, asthma and mental health concerns for patients and communities. She also provided mentoring and education to hundreds of enhanced role child health nurses and nurses in all local health departments. By championing health departments across the state as well as the children and families they serve, she exemplifies the highest values of public health care.

Mindy Turner, DDS, Individual Recognition Award
People may think that very young children don’t need dental care, but that’s when it’s most important. Baby teeth help children chew and speak properly and hold space for permanent teeth, so Dr. Mindy Turner likes to see patients by their first birthday so she can check for signs of decay and teach parents about proper care. Dr. Turner helped found the Stanly County Dental Clinic in 2002, when it first opened to children enrolled in the local Head Start programs. It is now a thriving children’s dental clinic. In early years, Dr. Turner collaborated with local school nurses to place sealants on all 2nd and 3rd graders enrolled in the Stanly County School System. She also partners with many other programs and health care providers to promote oral health education and reduce childhood tooth decay. In addition to being the county’s only pediatric dentist and running the clinic, Dr. Turner is an adjunct professor at UNC-Chapel Hill Dental School and serves as preceptor for the UNC-Dentistry in Service to Communities Program, providing a clinical site for dental students and dental hygiene students. Thousands of children in Stanly County have benefited from Dr. Turner’s big heart and passion for providing dental care.

Dorothy Rawleigh, Public Health Staff Recognition Award
Dorothy’s colleagues consider her the best Child Care Health Consultant in the state, and for good reason. She has energetically worked on partnerships resulting in healthier food at child care centers, higher immunization rates and better emergency preparedness planning. She formed a working group with nutritionists and public agencies, and got child care staff excited about healthy food by demonstrating recipes and creating test meals. Many more facilities are submitting the required Annual Child Care Immunization Report, due to training and assistance from Dorothy. She is viewed as a model public health professional and an inspiration to all who work with her, and those who benefit the most are the children being cared for.

Chatham County Public Health Department
Immunization Program
Because of hard work by public health staff and partners, Chatham County is a leader in the state and the country for early child vaccinations. In fact, Chatham regularly ranks #1 in the state in immunization rates among children up to 3 years old. The Health Department has achieved this with an innovative approach blending policy changes, training, tracking, feedback gathering and follow-up with child care facilities. The staff trained licensed child care facilities in correctly submitting the Annual Child Care Immunization report, and sent letters to parents stressing the importance of immunizations early on. In just a few years, the percentage of facilities that submitted the reports rose to 100 percent up from 62 percent, and the percentage of facilities with reports showing all children were up to date on immunizations rose to 96 percent, an exciting achievement and indicator of the dedicated and effective work of those involved.

Cleveland County Public Health Center
Virtual Care Clinic
As we all know, sometimes students cannot get to a pediatrician easily due to transportation issues or parental work conflicts. And doctors and nurses cannot be everywhere at once. With an innovative approach using technology, Cleveland County has created a Virtual Care Clinic that brings everyone together. Using telemedicine technology, local pediatricians provide medical care for students ranging from skin infections and rashes to pink eye, asthma flares, stomach viruses and the flu. Because of the clinic, emergency room use is down and school attendance is up. The school nurse now sends one student home for illness every 10.7 academic days—a 50-percent reduction in absenteeism due to illness. The Virtual Care Clinic has brought better health and more peace of mind to families in Cleveland County.

Granville Vance Public Health
Innovative Approaches
The sooner children with developmental disabilities are identified and helped, the better their chances at academic success. Granville Vance Public Health has created a novel partnership to engage parents by incorporating books and learning materials into library story time programming and at child care centers. For instance, story time books such as “Where is Bear?” and “Amazing Me, It’s Busy Being Three!” are entertaining but more importantly, address key milestones of development for two- and three-year olds. The stories allow parents to get a better understanding of development for their child at this age in a fun and interactive way. This means young children are getting the help they need at an earlier age—when it can make a big difference—thanks to the creativity, dedication and determination of staff at Granville Vance Public Health.

Congratulations to all the award recipients and nominees. All 2018 nominees are listed in the
2018 Child Health Award Program Booklet.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation appreciates the diligence of the North Carolina Public Health Association (NCPHA) in overseeing the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Awards program. NCPHA coordinates many tasks associated with the program, including selecting healthcare professionals to serve as selection committee members. We are grateful to the committee members for their time and careful consideration of all nominations. The information presented was provided by the nominators and reflect their views. We appreciate their participation sharing the work of others that create innovative programs. Thank you to everyone involved.

Link to award booklets: Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2018, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2017, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2016, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2015, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2014, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2013, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2012, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2011, Child Health Recognition Award Booklet 2010

2019 Child Health Nomination Form

Nominations due
May 31, 2019