2008 MDCH Director's Award Recipients for Local Public Health Announced

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

December 3, 2008

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Director's Award to Local Public Health Departments (LPHD) celebrated its silver anniversary, 25 years since award inception. All LPHDs are eligible and applicant winners must demonstrate innovation and excellence in public health. Applications are evaluated on the criteria of positive outcome in health status, collaboration, resource sharing, ability to be replicated, and program cost effectiveness.

City of Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion was the top recipient of $5,000 for their coordination of Project Fresh Start which focuses on giving a second chance to women convicted of prostitution charges in Wayne County's judicial system. Fresh Start enables women with high-risk behaviors to obtain critical health and social service resources to assist them in recovery and reunification with their children. By addressing the entire scope of unmet need for these women, the project has contributed to lower recidivism and relapse rates, has kept them off the streets, on the road to recovery and family reunification.

Application reviewers expressed the Detroit program as a "great model for integrating public health services into the lives of prostitutes in an effort to improve their health and prevent illness, but also to address substance abuse issues and assist to make positive changes in women's lives".

The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department received $3,000 for second place for their innovation and collaborative spirit in the New Directions: Van Buren County Methamphetamine Treatment Program. District Health Department #10 came in third and received $1,500 for their leadership in initiating and sustaining the Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Project.

Award recipients were announced and received at an Awards Reception held October 15, 2008 during the annual Premier Public Health Conference at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo. Janet Olszewski, Director, Michigan Department of Community Health presented the awards. Director Olszewski announced at the ceremony that the "2008 proposals represented a very competitive set of applications" from both rural and urban Michigan communities.

It was clearly demonstrated in the award recipients along with those applications submitted, collaborations with stakeholders and partners are the key to facilitate positive changes with limited resources. Resources may be tight statewide but that has not presently a barrier to good work.