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News Release    

September 16, 2003


County Executive Announces National Award for Health Data Institute Project

Dutchess County Executive Bill Steinhaus announced today the selection of the Hudson Valley Health Data Institute: Enhancing the Practice of Community Health Assessment as the recipient of the 2003 Jim Parker Memorial Award. This collaboration between the Hudson Valley Regional Health Officers Network, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Association of County Health Officers most embodied the goal of the award by fostering a strong sense of state/local partnership.

The Jim Parker Award is offered jointly by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO), the Association of State and Territorial Local Health Liaison Officials (ASTHLO), and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in honor of the memory of Jim Parker, who served as Director of the Community Health Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Health. Parker was a strong advocate for local and state health department collaboration. The Jim Parker Memorial Award was established to recognize and encourage initiatives that create and/or improve collaboration.

Formal presentation of the award took place at the ASTHO-NACCHO Networking Luncheon at the 2003 ASTHO-NACCHO Joint Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, September 10th. Dutchess County Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael C. Caldwell is currently the Vice-President of NACCHO.

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus said of Dutchess’ contribution to HVRHON and sharing in this award, “Information is the capital of this 21st Century and better data promotes informed decisions by government on all levels to enhance services to communities, families, and individuals. I am extremely pleased that our health department was able to contribute to this project and I am proud that we are sharing in this honor. The Health Data Institute (HDI) will be a resource for the entire Hudson Valley.”

Recognizing the importance of communication and cooperation at local and state levels, county health commissioners from seven counties in the Hudson Valley, organized the Hudson Valley Regional Health Officers Network (HVRHON) in 1997. The group consists of the health commissioners from Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester Counties. The group also includes the Regional Director of the New York State Department of Health’s Metropolitan Area Regional Office (MARCO), other New York State Department of Health’s (NYSDOH) staff, and is facilitated by the New York State Association of County Health Officers (NYSACHO).

For several years, HVRHON, working in collaboration with NYSACHO and NYSDOH, has planned for the establishment of a Health Data Institute or Knowledge Center that would address the need to obtain quality, current, reliable information to county decision makers and community stakeholders regarding the health status of each county. The HVRHON counties partnered with the University at Albany School of Public Health (SPH) and the NYSDOH and identified maternal and infant health as the priority topic for their first data assessment project. This activity requires the cooperation of both state and local health authorities to provide access to necessary databases, as well as SPH staff and students to analyze state vital statistics files.

Dutchess County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Michael C. Caldwell noted, “Sabrina Jaar Marzouka, our Director of Health Planning and Education, was instrumental in bringing the HDI to reality. Working closely with John Zanetich, Deputy Health Commissioner in neighboring Orange County, they kept the momentum going for over three years. Mrs. Marzouka sought support for HVRHON and engaged the Dyson Foundation in the project. Thanks to the generosity of the foundation, and the support of our state health department, the entire area has access to vital local maternal child health data.”



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