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FOR RELEASE: May 25 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Oklahoma State Department of Health Recognizes Outstanding Employees of the Year

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) recognized four outstanding employees at its first statewide Employee Recognition Ceremony this month. Awards were given for outstanding service to the department and to the communities they serve.

“I am pleased to commend these employees for the outstanding services they provide in their communities,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. “Their hard work and determination helped improve the quality of life for employees at the health department and for all Oklahomans.”

The four awards and honorees recognized included: 2006 County Health Department Employee of the Year - M’Liss Jenkins, Washington County Health Department; 2006 Central Office Employee of the Year - Kathy Payne, OSDH central office in Oklahoma City; 2006 Community Service Award recipient - Marcella Kirk, Love County Health Department; and 2006 Award of Commendation recipient - Deborah Nelson, Carter

County Health Department. Their accomplishments are listed below:

  • 2006 County Health Department Employee of the Year: M’Liss Jenkins is a maternal and child health consultant at the Washington County Health Department. M’Liss developed the Early Childhood Resource Center and was assigned to coordinate Turning Point in Washington, Osage, Nowata and Rogers counties. Her activities include helping promote a millage tax to fund the health department in Washington County, helping establish a community health center in Fairfax, working with local companies and the community to secure funding to open La Casa Hispana Hispanic Outreach Center, forming focus groups to prevent youth suicides, establishing the Washington County Fun Fair, coordinating children’s Christmas events, and helping bring together 21 agencies to offer a one-stop clinic and resources for victims of Hurricane Katrina who relocated to the Bartlesville area.
  • 2006 Central Office Employee of the Year: Kathy Payne is director of Health Promotions and Wellness at the OSDH and has worked tirelessly to provide in-house projects directed toward promoting wellness such as Walk Away the Pounds, Weight Watchers, Exercise with Lucie, Massage Therapy, Yoga, Wellness Market, Bike Club and many other projects providing health education at work and through health educators at the community levels. She leads by example and is quick to encourage others in their wellness walk to find ways to have activities suited to meet their own special needs.
  • 2006 Community Service Award recipient: Marcella Kirk is an administrative programs officer at the Love County Health Department but is better known in the community for her dedicated life to public safety. She is an active member of the Greenville Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter, treasurer of the Love County Emergency Medical Service Board and a member of the Love County Search and Rescue Board, and has taken the training and course work to become certified as an intermediate trained EMT. Due to her diligence and perseverance, the Greenville Fire Department was awarded grant funds for safety equipment to improve their services and ability to save lives. She takes every opportunity to interject a public health message or fact into community meetings and is active in her church and as a member of the Love County Turning Point Coalition.
  • 2006 Award of Commendation recipient: Deborah Nelson, from the Carter County Health Department, excels beyond her regular duties as an administrative technician at the Carter County Health Department by keeping the grounds of the health department clean and well groomed by doing a lot of the gardening and landscaping herself. Her efforts helped the Carter County Health Department win first place in the “Keep Oklahoma Beautiful 2005” statewide environmental excellence competition. She spent 45 minutes before work and time on weekends replacing and caring for plants. Many clients have commented on the improvement in the overall positive feeling of the facility due to her hard work and sense of pride in where she works. This contributes to the overall success of the entire staff.

For more information about the OSDH Employee Recognition Program and those recognized, contact: Dollzine Posey, (405) 271-4171 or at Dollzine@health.ok.gov.

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