What is one thing children and their pets have in common? They both need vaccinations to stay healthy. Not long ago, the Cleveland County Health Department in North Carolina came up with a clever idea to address that need: a drive-through clinic for vaccinating children and their dogs and cats. The result? Cars lined up for blocks and, at the end of the day, about 1,000 animals and more than 260 people had been vaccinated.
This is just one of the great ideas being recognized today in North Carolina with the GlaxoSmithKline Child Health Recognition Awards. The awards were announced in Asheville during the North Carolina Public Health Association's annual meeting. The awards are a showcase for innovative public health programs.
And what a great competition it is. There are nutrition programs for premature babies, campaigns against childhood obesity, screening for oral health, and outreach to children who are poor and homeless or in foster homes.
We salute the tireless (and creative) efforts of these public health professionals to improve the health of our children and families. They are exemplified by Jennifer Garrett, school nurse supervisor in Macon County. Children know her as Princess Leah in "Tar Wars," a tobacco prevention program.
Thanks to all of these public health advocates whose vision for better child health inspires us all.