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It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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By Andrea McKinney

June 02, 2017

Naples, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Collier County was recognized by Florida Tax Watch and received three Prudential Productivity Awards.  The Awards program publicly recognizes and rewards state employees and work units whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation to improve the delivery of state services and save money for Florida taxpayers and businesses.  Collier County winners include a team from the Immokalee office for their Big Bus Event, a team from the Healthy Start Program for their Haitian Prenatal/Parenting Classes, and a team from the Immunization program and Administration for their Shoo the Flu Challenge. 

Faced with a need to provide health services for the underserved community of Immokalee, the Big Bus Event was created to bring mobile health units into the community to provide services and health screenings free of charge.  Now in its third year, the event has grown exponentially since its inception.  Approximately 1,600 individuals visited the eight buses and 50 organizations that participated in the 2016 event. The plaque award winners are Mark Lemke, Health Center Administrator, and Elia Martinez, Staff Assistant.

The Haitian Prenatal/Parenting Classes were developed to address the health disparity among the Haitian population in Collier County, which has the highest number of low birth weights. The Healthy Start team identified the need for health education for this target population and created a curriculum-based class in their native language of Creole. The goal of the program is to educate the Haitian community on having a healthy pregnancy with proper prenatal and newborn care to reduce the risks associated with preterm and low birth weights. The plaque award winners are Laarni West, Nursing Program Specialist, Marie Michel, Health Educator Consultant, Lanise Laurent, Health Educator Consultant, and Gusleine Domond, Family Support Worker. 

By promoting flu prevention and education, the Florida Department of Health challenged their employees to a four week “Shoo the Flu Challenge”, and encouraged employees to receive their flu vaccine.  The goal of the divisional challenge is to encourage each division to achieve a 100% flu vaccination rate. To improve employee vaccination rates, a flu cart was brought to the employees’ workspaces, and administered in a way as to not disrupt the employee workday.  Also, weekly educational e-mails were sent to staff and flyers were posted throughout each site.  Vaccination rates increased significantly, and the Immokalee site obtained a 100% overall vaccination rate.  The plaque award winners are Kristine Gajos, Assistant to the Administrator, and Donna Van Tol, Senior LPN Coordinator. 

For a full list of Prudential Productivity Award winners, visit


About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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