Houston, TX – Harris County Public Health’s (HCPH) response to Hurricane Harvey and its marketing/communication campaigns were honored with three Model Practice Awards at the 2018 Annual Conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The model practice award celebrates local health departments for developing programs that demonstrate exemplary and replicable best practices in response to a critical local public health need.
The HCPH Epidemiology Program was awarded for its public health surveillance and response at NRG Stadium post Harvey. HCPH descended upon the stadium turned evacuation shelter to ensure evacuees health and safety. The team screened for communicable diseases, administered flu shots, attended to those in need of medical attention, and ensured proper hygiene protocols in the shelter setting.
The HCPH Tuberculosis Elimination Program (TB) was awarded for its use of Video Directly Observed Therapy (VDOT) for tuberculosis treatment during Hurricane Harvey. This cutting-edge technology allowed the TB team to continue monitoring treatment of TB patients via smartphone videoconferencing. HCPH is a pioneer in the use of the innovate technology, which allows the TB team to video call patients (either patients using their own phones or phones or given to them by the program) to ensure medication adherence, preventing serious complications from the contagious and sometimes deadly disease. Use of VDOT allowed patients to continue in care during the natural disaster. HCPH has also been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its use.
The HCPH Office of Communications, Education and Engagement (OCEE) was awarded for its innovative in-house creative agency. OCEE has transformed communications and public health messages through the creation of a multifaceted team, which includes social media, media relations, video production, marketing and grass-roots community engagement. OCEE was honored with the award because it is seen as a blueprint for other local health departments.
“We are honored and humbled to receive three NACCHO Model Practice Awards. These awards are evidence of our commitment to improving the health of our communities by developing responsive and innovative public health programs,” said Dr. Umair A. Shah, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health.
“Today we honor Harris County Public Health for the exceptional program they have developed to protect their community, as well as promote the concept of spread for the benefit of other communities. Inventive programs like theirs advance our profession by promoting science and evidence-informed work and we are very pleased to recognize their efforts with this Model Practice Award,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.