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, however due to COVID-19 we are postponing the nomination deadline to July 31, 2020.

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 public health 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 annual Child Health Recognition Awards.

2020 Child Health Recognition Award Recipients:

Those honored with awards, selected from nominations submitted by colleagues and chosen by a selection committee of public health professionals. Awards were given included:

Lifetime Achievement Recognition: Gayle Bridges Harris (retired), Durham County Department of Public Health

Individual Achievement: Adonna Simpson Lewis, Wake County Human Services

Public Health Staff Achievement: Tara Blackley, MA, MPH, MBA, Durham County Department of Public Health

Local Health Department Achievement:
Cabarrus Health Alliance, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
Cleveland County Public Health Center, Dental Clinic
Stanly County Health Department, Dental Clinic

Gayle Bridges Harris (retired), Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award

  • Second African American student to graduate from Duke University School of Nursing in 1972.
  • Path from public health nurse…to Public Health Director at Durham County Health Department.
  • Led Durham County’s Department of Public Health, Department of Social Services, Cooperative Extension, Veteran Services and Durham Public Libraries.
  • Collaborations working with many agencies, the County and Alliance Behavior Health Care, Durham Parks and Recreation, Duke University Health System, Lincoln Community Health Center, Public and Private Universities, United Way of the Greater Triangle.
  • Helped bring health care to a county where some of the finest medical expertise and resources are located in the world, but county citizens experienced socioeconomic inequities, high poverty rates, a lack of affordable housing, and high rates of chronic disease.
  • Gayle Bridges Harris’ dedication to the citizens of Durham County has changed the health of the county’s most vulnerable residents and worked to provide outstanding public health care for all citizens.

Adonna Simpson Lewis, Individual Recognition Award

  • Influenced the health and wellbeing of many incarcerated pregnant women in NC.
  • Nationally Certified Childbirth Educator; DOULA; Dancing for Birth Educator; a Master Trainer- A Matter of Balance Instructor, and a Certified Health Counselor and BS in Public Health Education at North Carolina Central University.
  • Supported unborn babies and their mothers.
  • Developed and provides classes and materials for Prenatal, Childbirth and Parenting Education, Signs and Stages of Labor, Breathing Patterns, Medications Used During Labor, Reasons for Inductions, Medical Variations in Labor, Overview of Cesarean Births, Postpartum/Contraceptive Methods and Postpartum Blues/Depression/Psychosis.
  • Emphasizes infant development so mothers will have a better understanding of what to expect.
  • Mentor and role model and applauded her for providing care to these infants and mothers.

Tara Blackley, MA, MPH, MBA, Public Health Staff Recognition Award

  • Swiftly ensured Durham county’s strategies for COVID-19 prevention and mitigation is data driven and included the youngest residents.
  • Met the challenge as Durham County was seeing COVID-19 positivity rates higher than expected and above state averages.
  • Led the Durham County Department of Public Health’s efforts to develop a strong surveillance team for case investigation and daily calls of close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.
  • Led efforts to work with the myriad of community partners to create a comprehensive data hub available to all community stakeholders, and an on-going free community COVID-19 testing site.
  • Ensured testing sites were prepared to test infants, small children and their parents with a short wait time to secure an appointment was her priority.
  • Collaborated with community partners.

Local Health Department Achievement Awards

  • Cabarrus Health Alliance, The Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.
  • Retaining children of need of nutrition support in WIC as they age can be crucial to their healthy development.
  • WIC is considered the nation's premier public health nutrition program for low-income families.
  • WIC has been shown to reduce the likelihood of future health problems.
  • Barriers to WIC participation include long wait times, cumbersome scheduling processes, and overall customer satisfaction.
  • Creation of an online appointment scheduling (OAS)/queue management tool specifically adapted to the WIC content.
  • Using this new tool, the participants have been retained and the program has grown, meeting the nutritional needs of an average of 300 new mothers and their children – this program is changing the lives of Cabarrus County citizens.

Cleveland County Public Health Center, Dental Clinic

  • For some individuals, seeking dental care over other essential needs such as groceries, health care and transportation is too great a challenge to overcome.
  • Concern brought together stakeholders to brainstorm and collaborate issues and solutions.
  • Several unmet health-related needs that included poor access to dental care, and students needed assistance with dental care.
  • The health department partnered with the school system and Graham's social worker to ensure that all students with emergent dental care needs received the care they needed.
  • The Dental Clinic staff are caring professionals who strongly believe in the importance of dental health and its ability to positively or negatively impact the life of a child.

Stanly County Health Department, Dental Clinic

  • Established at the Stanly County Health Department in 2002 to serve children, ages 0-19 years old.
  • Primary focus was to serve low income and special needs children in a clinical setting.
  • Serves children covered by Medicaid and Health Choice insurance or uninsured/private pay. In 2017, the program expanded to include children covered by private dental insurance .
  • In 2005 the operating room (OR) program was started and established to provide services for children with extensive dental needs who were unable to tolerate in office dental treatment.
  • Focus of the dental program has expanded to provide a school-based dental sealants program for second and third graders enrolled in 11 elementary schools (since 2016) and sixth and seventh graders enrolled in the 4 middle schools (since 2019).
  • Also serves as a training location for students in dental profession programs.

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: 2019 Child Health Recognition Awards Booklet, 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