Houston Health Department Honored for Excellence in Public Health

New Orleans – The Houston Health Department (HHD) was honored with two Model Practice Awards and one Promising Practice Award at the 2018 Annual Conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in July. The awards celebrate local health departments for developing programs that demonstrate exemplary and replicable best practices in response to a critical local public health need.

The Houston Community Capacity Building Pilot Project and the Innovative Strategy to Identify Infants Born to Chronic Hepatitis B Mothers were two of 29 local health department programs to receive NACCHO’s prestigious Model Practice Award. The department also received a NACCHO Promising Practice Award. The winning projects are:

Model Practice Awards

  1. Houston Community Capacity Building Pilot Project.
    This project presented trainings and awarded mini-grants in three low-income communities to help residents learn to how to advocate for and improve their communities.
  2. Innovative Strategy to Identify Infants Born to Chronic Hepatitis B Mothers.
    Mothers who have hepatitis B can easily transmit this disease to their infants, so mothers are routinely screened for hepatitis B by medical providers in every pregnancy and the positive results are reported to the Houston Health Department. This project found that 4 out of every 10 infants born to these mothers were not reported in 2014 and 2015 and assessed the underlying reasons so this rate can be improved.

Promising Practice Award

  1. Dialectical Program Planning Model—An Approach to Capacity Building in Planning and Evaluation of Public Health Programs and Projects.
    This project developed a curriculum to guide organizations in how to plan and evaluate community projects so they can have the greatest impact on the populations they serve.

“We are proud to receive NACCHO’s Model Practice Award.  The award is evidence of our commitment to developing responsive and innovative public health programs that build capacity in our communities and improve the health of Houstonians,” said Stephen L. Williams, M.Ed., M.P.A., Director of the Houston Health Department.

Since 2003, NACCHO’s Model Practice Awards have honored programs, resources, and tools that demonstrate how local health departments and their community partners can effectively collaborate to address local public health challenges. Each innovative project receiving the Model Practice Award was peer-reviewed and selected from a competitive group of over 100 applicants.

“Today we honor the Houston Health Department for the exceptional programs they have developed to protect their community, as well as disseminate their results for the benefit of other communities.  Inventive programs like theirs advance our profession by promoting science and evidence-informed work and we are very pleased to recognize their efforts with these Model Practice and Promising Practice Awards,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.

The Houston Community Capacity Building Pilot Project and the Innovative Strategy to Identify Infants Born to Chronic Hepatitis B Mothers are now part of an online, searchable database of successful public health practices in areas that range from immunization and maternal and child health, to infectious diseases and emergency preparedness. The NACCHO Model Practice database allows local health departments, public health partners, and other important stakeholders to learn about the good work being done by local health departments across the country.  The database also provides users an opportunity to learn from best practices and what resources are needed to implement comparable programs in other jurisdictions that produce results.

Read more about these award-winning programs at https://application.naccho.org/Public/Applications/Search .

Stephen L. Williams, M.Ed., M.P.A., Director of the Houston Health Department,  Essi M. Havor MSN, RN, APHN-BC, Chief Nurse of Immunization Bureau,  Deborah Banerjee, Ph.D., Bureau Chief of the Office of Planning, Evaluation & Research for Effectiveness,  and Angela Gala Gonzalez, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., Management Analyst IV for the Office of Planning, Evaluation & Research for Effectiveness accept the Houston Health Department’s awards at the 2018 Annual Conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.


Members of the HHD Office of Planning, Evaluation & Research for Effectiveness and Immunization Bureau.
Front row, from left: Deborah Banerjee, Beverly Nichols, Lucy Lara, Bridget Turner
Back row, from left: Angela Gala Gonzalez, Ekúndayò Kofi Àzúbùíké, Claudia Fahmi, Sheila Laughlin, Essi Havor, Teresa Aguilar

About the Houston Health Department

The Houston Health Department (HHD) is the public health authority for Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the U.S., with an estimated 2017 population of 2.3 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Established in 1840, HHD has grown to a department of 1,400 employees and provides services for an increasingly racially and ethnically diverse population.

In 2014, the department received accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board. HHD was the first city in Texas and the second large city in the U.S. to be accredited.

HHD provides core public health services such as air and water quality monitoring; restaurant inspections; lead paint safety; cancer screening and family planning for the uninsured; communicable disease prevention and control; disease surveillance; birth and death certificates; leadership in emergencies such as hurricanes; services to seniors; WIC programs; immunizations; and others.

HHD operates 11 multi-service centers, 6 health centers, 14 WIC (Women, Infants and Children nutrition program) sites, the Harris County Area Agency on Aging, a regional reference laboratory, and multiple health and human service programs.

While HHD provides services that benefit all Houston residents, the department also takes additional steps to support those most in need, such as low income mothers and children, the elderly, and minority populations.

For more information about the Houston Health Department, please visit www.houstontx.gov/health.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.