Guilford County Health Director Merle Green has won the prestigious Carl Durham Award for Leadership in Public Health from the Association of North Carolina Boards of Health (ANCBH); and the county’s JustTEENS program – which runs clinics targeted at those under 19 years of age – has been named as GlaxoSmithKline’s model program of the year, one that the company believes should be emulated by other public health departments.
Jean Douglas, the chair of the Guilford County Health and Human Service Advisory Committee, said she couldn’t be more proud of Green given the big honor she just pulled down.
“Basically, it’s like the health director of the year,” Douglas said.
“The people who called me just terrifically bragged on her and said nobody was more deserving than Merle,” Douglas said.
Douglas said she was thrilled Guilford County’s recent efforts to promote teen health also got a big honor. Judy Southern, the director of clinical services for the Guilford County Health Department, oversees the teen clinic program.
Sept. 29, Green was honored at a dinner in Asheville where she received the Carl Durham Award, named after a former North Carolina congressman and pharmacist who made many contributions to public health.
Green said she was very honored by her award and she was delighted Guilford County has been recognized by GlaxoSmithKline for its teen clinics.
Green’s contributions to public health that were cited include her role in the creation of the Evans-Blount Community Health Center in southeast Greensboro, as well as her efforts in establishing programs to provide healthy mobile food options for residents in “food deserts.” Green’s community service outside of her work in the department was also cited.
Guilford County’s health department won the GlaxoSmithKline child health recognition award – also awarded in Ashville. The county has opened teen clinics in both Greensboro and High Point, which focus specifically on teenagers, with everything from the artwork to the reading material in the waiting room and the Wi-Fi access geared toward making teens feel welcome.
The program’s goal is to provide private, teen-friendly, free or low-cost services to that age group and to make it more likely that young adults will come in for treatment. The clinics offer physicals, immunizations, pregnancy tests and infection screenings as well as counseling and other services. The High Point teen clinic, which opened in May 2017, is in the center of an area where the highest teen pregnancy rate in Guilford County occurs.
She said the Greensboro clinic was possible with a grant from Cone Health Foundation and the High Point clinic funding by the High Point Community Foundation along with the some additional money from Guilford County.
“Both clinics have been very successful,” Green said.