Grand County Gail Van Bockern named New Public Health Nurse of the Year
Gail Van Bockern, RN, was recognized as New Public Health Nurse of the Year during the annual Colorado Public Health Excellence Awards on Sept. 16.Grand County Public Health also won the Innovative Project award for the ACHES (Advocacy for Childrens Health & Education Services) medical voucher program.According to Mary Jo Rosazza, nominating/award chair for the Public Health Nurses Association of Colorado (PHNAC), the organizations annual conference recognizes outstanding public nursing across the state. Grand County really had quite a time at our awards dinner winning both the Innovative Project award and New Public Health Nurse of the Year.The New Public Health Nurse of the Year award is given to an exemplary public health nurse, with less than five years of public health experience, who establishes community partnerships to help increase the use of public health programs and services.Gail shows true leadership in the Grand County Public Health office, says director Brene Belew-LaDue.In spring 2004, Van Bockern was hired as a childcare consultant to interact with all preschools, daycare centers and home childcare providers in the county. Van Bockern soon became an important liaison between public health and childcare providers, Belew-LaDue says.She shaped this position into a true consulting position with providers trusting her knowledge, skills, and her compassion for young children.Today Van Bockern is the Public Health Nurse Generalist responsible for addressing health issues as they arise. Her expertise includes immunizations, communicable disease, maternal-child health, dental, and environmental health.Gail is resourceful, has connections throughout the community of Grand County, and utilizes those connections to her advantage in her public health role, Belew-LaDue says.Van Bockern also has been instrumental in bringing several programs to the public health office including: Reach Out and Read, Cavity Free At Three and the Grand County Immunization Coalition. She is president of the Grand Beginnings board; and is a member of the Underage Drinking Task Force, the East and West Grand School Wellness committees, and Early Childhood Initiative Board.Van Bockern also leads the new ACHES program. She recently finished a Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence Leadership project investigating the need for an Environmental Office in Grand County. This project was presented to the Grand County Health Advisory Committee and the Grand County Board of County Commissioners for consideration.For more information about Grand County Public Health, please visit http://www.co.grand.co.us, or call 970-725-3288.
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