Karen O'Brien, a health education coordinator with the Delta County Department of Health & Human Services, recently received the Excellence in Public Health Education Award from the Colorado Society for Public Health Education.
The award is presented each September at the Public Health in Colorado Conference, and is awarded to a practicing health educator who has portrayed outstanding leadership in the profession and field of public health.
O'Brien was recognized for her "heroic efforts" in policy development which culminated in the multi-unit housing units of the Delta Housing Authority going smoke-free as of Sept. 1, 2011.
"Delta County doesn't even have zoning, and for a staff person to collaborate with community partners to bring such a major policy to life deserves recognition," said Bonnie Koehler, Delta County health officer.
"Karen has staffed the tobacco education program in Delta County for nearly five years, and if a rural mid-sized county can accomplish such a major policy change, it can happen anywhere. Her belief in what could be and her willingness to move heaven and earth to accomplish it deserve to be recognized," she added.
According to statistics compiled by an agency of the Centers for Disease Control, 37 percent of all Delta County residents smoked in 1998. The 2009-10 survey indicated the smoking rate had dropped to 18.8 percent.blog comments powered by Disqus