Practice Office Honors State Bureau of Infectious Diseases with Gail Douglas Award

Posted on: April 2, 2015 Topics: Practice Office

Anne Fidler, center, presents the Gail Douglas Award to Frank Giacalone, president of the Massachusetts Health Officers Association, who accepted on behalf of the Bureau of Infectious Disease. At right is Al Demaria, State Epidemiologist and previous winner of the award.

Anne Fidler, center, presents the Gail Douglas Award to Frank Giacalone, president of the Massachusetts Health Officers Association, who accepted on behalf of the Bureau of Infectious Disease. At right is Al DeMaria, state epidemiologist and previous winner of the award.

For the first time since its inception, the Gail Douglas Award for Excellence in Public Health Practice has been awarded to a group: the Bureau of Infectious Disease of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The award is bestowed annually by the SPH Office of Public Health Practice, and usually acknowledges a member of the public health practice community for outstanding contributions to public health.

This year, the practice office faced a big challenge, said Anne Fidler, assistant dean for public health practice. The office wanted to recognize numerous individuals, she said, because many at the School, including staff, faculty, and students, have benefited from the time and talents of many MDPH members.

Speaking to members of the Bureau of Infectious Diseases, Fidler said, “The School has been blessed to have a rich, long-standing relationship with all of MDPH. Our students and faculty have benefited greatly by the participation of MDPH staff in the education and research endeavors of our School, including teaching, hosting practicum students, participation in practice/academic collaborative projects, and collaborative research activities.”

The Bureau of Infectious Diseases is comprised of the Divisions of Tuberculosis Prevention and Control, Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, and Epidemiology and Immunization, as well as the HIV/AIDS Surveillance and Refugee and Immigrant Health programs.

In June 2006, the SPH Office of Public Health Practice established the award, which was named after its first recipient, Acting Dean of Practice Gail H. Douglas, to honor her years of service for the public health community.

Over the past several years, the Gail Douglas Award, which offers a $1,000 prize, has been presented to remarkable public health professionals, including Letitia “Tish” Davis, founder of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Occupational Surveillance Program; Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst; Sarah Johnson of Management Sciences for Health; Alfred DeMaria, Massachusetts state epidemiologist; and Sophie Godley, then-deputy director of the AIDS Action Committee.

Because state workers cannot accept prizes from outside organizations, the award will be used to benefit the Massachusetts Health Officers Association, which helps staff of local health departments promote public health.