In late December, the N.C. Public Health Association honored Jackson and Gaston Counties with the Morrow Award.

The awards were given at the NCPHA fall conference in Greensboro.

The Sarah Taylor Morrow Award was created by NCPHA in the memory of Dr. Sarah Taylor Morrow, North Carolina’s long-time secretary of Human Services and a life-long advocate for the health of the state’s children. The award recognizes two health departments, one large and one smaller, for their work in improving community health.

The Jackson County Department of Public Health was chosen for the Morrow Award for its work in diabetes prevention. The department implemented a strategy to begin teaching the Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Program for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. This year-long program helps participants make real lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, implementing physical activity into their daily lives, and improving problem-solving and coping skills. This evidenced based program can help people with prediabetes and/or those at risk for type 2 diabetes make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes and cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

“We are pleased to recognize these leaders and these county health departments for their service to the people of North Carolina,” said Dave Jenkins, president of the N.C. Public Health Association. “They are the true heroes of the public health community.”