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NC Association of Local Health Directors Honors Health Director of the Year, Legislator of the Year and Partner Organization for Contributions to Improving Public Health


On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors honored Scott Harrelson of Craven County as Health Director of the Year, State Senator Jim Davis as Legislator of the Year, and The Southeastern North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative, UNC Wilmington, College of Health and Human Services, with the 2018 Public Health Partners Award.

The awards were given at the NCALHD annual meeting awards luncheon in Raleigh. The awards luncheon was held in conjunction with the State Health Director’s meeting, also in Raleigh.

The 2018 North Carolina Health Director of the Year Award was presented to Scott Harrelson of Craven County.   This award was created by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and is implemented through the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors, an affiliate of the NCACC and is given to an individual for outstanding leadership in both public health in North Carolina and for leadership and involvement in local community and civic activities.

Scott has served as Public Health Director for 18 years; Chairman of Reimbursement and Finance Committee of NCALHD; Chairman of Education and Awards Committee of NCALHD; President of NCPHA Eastern District.   In the community, Scott has been Chairman of a county-wide opioid response team; Established the first dual Health Department and FQHS in NC; Addresses medical access and continuity of care for community members by partnering closely with Merci Free Clinic; Initiated a Quality Assurance Program and planning and implementation of a mobile dental unit that serves multiple counties.   In collaboration and Culture of Improvement, Scott has Advocated against local health department funding cuts in the Family Planning and Women’s Health Services programs; Recently expanded WIC, primary care, women’s health, and communicable disease services to a satellite operation to better provide health and wellness services geographically; and Supports surrounding counties with staffing and essential service provision.  “He has led his staff to new innovative programs and projects to help improve the health and well-being of our residents.  It is through his leadership and commitment that the health department continues to grow and expand the services offered to citizens, while at the same time finding efficiencies to help save county taxpayers money.”



The 2018 Public Health Partners Award was presented to The Southeastern North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative, UNC Wilmington, College of Health and Human Services; Founding Dean and Professor, Dr. Charles Hardy.   This award was created to recognize organizations, businesses and professional associations that have made significant contributions to the advancement and promotion of public health in North Carolina.

Collaborative was established in 2013 for partners to work together collectively and across county lines to develop a sustainable approach to enhance the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities.   It is a seven  county collaborative, including health directors, UNC Wilmington Health and Human Services leadership, and Southeast Area Health Education Staff.  Its vision is for residents to be actively engaged in healthy lifestyles.

Partnering Agency Involvement:    Facilitated by UNC Wilmington College of Health and Human Services staff and led by Dean and Professor, Dr. Charles Hardy; Conducted a regional health assessment; Identified common health issues throughout the region and selected specific focus areas; Targeted chronic disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension; Conducted regional foods assessment and identified common food system issues; Placed Kids in Parks trails in county parks throughout the region to promote physical activity among children and families; Formed Regional Diabetes Network; Established regional support and Call to Action around the opioid crisis; Established a community platform (website) where the public can access: Information about communities and county agencies within the region – Issues and Initiatives; Maps and Data; Health Resources/Health Services

“Synergy has been created that allows counties to network, identify common public health issues and concerns, bring awareness to the community, and find solutions for a healthier community. Dr. Hardy is the constant in the collaborative and devotes many hours to ensuring its success.”


The 2018 Legislator of the Year Award was given to State Senator Jim Davis .  The Award was created to recognize legislators who have made significant contributions to the advancement and promotion of public health in North Carolina.

Senator Davis was the primary sponsor of and/or was instrumental in getting several important pieces of legislation passed through the Senate and in to law in 2017:

  • Senate Bill 74: Update Rabies Control Law – Session Law 2017-106
  • Senate Bill 175: Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act –Session Law 2017-74.
  • Senate Bill 24: An Act Allowing Food Establishments to Use Outdoor Grills for Food Preparation – Session Law 2017-18. He worked with DPH Environmental Health staff on the language of the bill. The bill clarifies and set standards for food preparation and outdoor grilling, and helps protect the public’s health
  • Senate Bill 347: Revise Schedule of Controlled Substances – House Bill 464 with same title became Session Law 2017-115. He and other legislators worked with local law enforcement and public health in crafting this legislation. The legislation targets drugs specifically designed to mimic the effects of opioids while avoiding classification as controlled substances. By listing all known fentanyl analogs, this legislation closed the loophole regarding the chemical backbone of the fentanyl molecule thereby capturing future variations of fentanyl analogs from entering the U.S. market and ultimately protecting the public’s health.
  • Senate Bill 256: Body Art Regulation This legislation targets a high risk pathway for the spread of several emerging infectious diseases including: HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. If passed in the 2018 short session, this legislation will create stricter penalties for illegal tattooing and require a permit to perform certain types of body art (piercings) which in turn reduces the potential for unnecessary exposures to blood borne pathogens for the artists and their clients.
  • In addition, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Health Care Committee, and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, he was supportive of expanding funding to NC Division of Public Health to:
    • Increase smoking cessation programs
    • Develop a youth smoking prevention program
    • Implement a Minority Diabetes Prevention Program
    • Expand Hepatitis C testing through the State Laboratory of Public Health
    • NC Office of Rural Health,
    • Community Health Medical Access Planning Grant Program
    • Division of Central Management and Support to improve the Controlled Substance Reporting System