The Perspective

2011 Public Health Heroes Announced

For the past decade, the Southern Nevada Health District has honored organizations and individuals whose contributions positively affect the health, safety and well being of our community. This year’s awardees have shown tremendous initiative to ensure the conditions necessary to protect the health of Southern Nevada residents and visitors. All are well-deserving recipients of the Public Health Hero Awards.

Patrick Fogerty and Michael Schultz | New York New York Hotel & Casino and ARK Restaurant Corporation

Michael Schultz

Patrick Fogerty

Patrick Fogerty and Michael Schultz serve as the liaisons between New York New York Hotel and Casino, ARK Restaurant Corporation and the health district. Patrick and Michael are diligent regarding health district policies and regulations that impact their permitted establishments - whether they are leased outlets or hotel-owned food facilities.

They work closely with our staff when obtaining new equipment or when implementing new property practices to make sure they are in sync with our permits, regulations and policies.

They provide on-the-job training for all staff so they have more in-depth understanding of safe food handling practices, they have developed mock food inspection programs to support ARK Restaurant Corporation and property owned food safety practices and public health policies, all of which ensure that the public and New York New York’s customers are protected.

Pediatric Early Warning Sentinel Surveillance Sites | Foothills Pediatrics, Fremont Children’s Clinic, Lake Mead Pediatrics and Southwest Medical Associates

C. Garcia, MD R. Ezhuthachan, MD E. Taguba, MD B. Duddy, MD

The Pediatric Early Warning Sentinel Surveillance System (PEWSS) was initiated in response to 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak. It was developed to identify and track influenza in the community, and was later expanded to cover the most common viral respiratory illnesses.

The system’s success is based on the voluntary participation of the five physician’s offices that make up the network, all of whom have maintained their commitment to the system. Each week, the sites evaluate patients to determine if they meet the appropriate criteria, collect nasal swabs from these patients, and submit the specimens to the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory for testing. As a result, the system has successfully provided an up-to-date picture of respiratory illness in Southern Nevada, and has provided valuable information to both the medical and public health communities.

Candice Nichols

Candice Nichols, Executive Director | The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada

Since 2004, Candice Nichols has worked closely with the health district’s office of HIV/AIDS/STDs. Candice recently made The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada available as an outreach site where anyone in the community can access HIV or STD testing. Candice and The Center serve as a critical piece of the health district’s HIV/STD testing and counseling program.

In addition to testing, at-risk individuals who visit The Center also receive hepatitis A and B vaccinations. The goal of this outreach is to empower people with knowledge about their own health and situation. It allows them to take control of their lives.

Aurora Wong

Aurora Wong, Coordinator | Hepatitis B Free Las Vegas Project

Aurora Wong has put together a coalition of partners to address the high rates of chronic hepatitis B infection among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Southern Nevada, who have higher rates of infection than other members of our community.

Since September, Aurora has recruited 20 community partners, including the Southern Nevada Health District, and 100 stakeholders to develop an approach to educate and minimize infection among the Asian-American community in Las Vegas. Her goal is to prevent new infections, to encourage testing and to help those infected with chronic hepatitis B get connected with resources so they can get the appropriate care.

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