/Health District names 2022 Public Health Heroes

Health District names 2022 Public Health Heroes

April 28, 2022

LAS VEGAS – A public health hero is an individual or organization that embodies one or more of the essential functions of public health and the Southern Nevada Health District recognizes those whose actions improve the health status of the community. Today, the Health District announced its 2022 Public Health Heroes at its April Board of Health meeting. This year, Dr. Shawn Gerstenberger, dean, and Max Gakh, associate professor, from UNLV’s School of Public Health, and Jeremy Lovell, health facilities inspector, from the Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance at the State of Nevada, were named the 2022 Public Health Heroes.

Public health ranges from leading public health emergencies, to conducting restaurant inspections, to making policy recommendations that impact all members of the community. The Health District also relies on its partners in its mission to improve the lives of Southern Nevadans.

Dr. Shawn Gerstenberger (Dean), Max Gakh (Associate Professor)
School of Public Health, UNLV 

Dr. Shawn Gerstenberger and Max Gakh from UNLV’s School of Public Health were nominated by the Health District’s Tobacco Control Program for their continued collaboration to put into place a smoke-free policy at UNLV. The policy was recently announced by UNLV and prohibits the use of all tobacco, electronic and vaping products on campus, in campus housing or at any school venues. UNLV’s smoke-free policy begins in August at the start of the Fall 2022 semester. UNLV joins more than 2,000 colleges and universities that have adopted smoke-free policies. Gerstenberger and Gakh are recognized for their continued efforts to make this significant public health policy a reality, an effort that has been in process for approximately 20 years. The smoke-free policy at UNLV will protect its 30,000-plus students, as well as its faculty and staff, vendors, event attendees, and the public, from secondhand smoke. This is a public health policy and intervention that positively impacts the community.

Jeremy Lovell, Health Facilities Inspector II
Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance/State of Nevada

Jeremy Lovell has been a public servant since 2007 and served as a police officer, a family services specialist, an elder rights specialist, a code enforcement officer and a health facilities inspector. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lovell saw the need to ensure Nevada’s most vulnerable residents were protected and returned to the State of Nevada’s Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance as a health facilities inspector, leaving a position at the City of Las Vegas. As an inspector, he visited group homes, assisted living centers, and nursing homes with confirmed COVID-19 cases to ensure they were all in compliance with Nevada Revised Statute and Nevada Administrative Code and to make certain they were following all recommended infection control practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among these populations. As a frontline regulator, he remains dedicated to mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus and assuring patients and residents of these facilities receive care in the safest possible environments. He provided resources and coordinated efforts to make certain that each facility and its health care staff had a good understanding of the practices to keep staff members, residents and patients safe and healthy.

Public Health Heroes are nominated by Health District staff members for their efforts in supporting one or more of the 10 Essential Public Health Services:

  1. Monitor the health status to identify and solve community health problems.
  2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
  3. Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
  4. Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
  5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
  6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  7. Link people to needed health services, assure the provision of healthcare when unavailable.
  8. Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
  9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
  10. Research for new insights and innovative solution to health problems.


The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info.

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