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Health Commissioner Announces Virginia Public Health Nurse of the Year
Central Shenandoah Health District Nurse Cathy Halterman Honored
(RICHMOND, Va.)—State Health Commissioner Cynthia C. Romero, MD, FAAFP, today announced Cathy Halterman, public health nurse in the Central Shenandoah Health District, as Public Health Nurse of the Year for the Virginia Department of Health.
Cathy Halterman serves the Highland County Health Department through direct care of clients in the department’s clinic, as well as acting as the primary nurse to the local school system. As Highland County’s only Public Health Nurse, her services range from well-child services, WIC and nutrition counseling, to testing for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases, and assisting with disease investigations.
“Nurses are the backbone and heart of health care,” said Dr. Romero, “and Cathy’s commitment to her community and clients, as well as her professional curiosity and dedication to continuous improvement, truly exemplifies the spirit of the brightest and the best in public health nursing.”
During more than 35 years as a public health nurse, Cathy has become a trusted member of the community. She continually demonstrates the spirit of service and leadership through her collaboration with community leaders, schools, local emergency staff, government officials and the local health center. She also teaches the family life curriculum in the schools and provides faculty flu shots each year.
“Throughout her career, Cathy has been dedicated to serving the population of her county,” said Dr. Doug Larsen, health director for the Central Shenandoah Health District. “Working in a small community allows her the unique privilege of personally knowing her clientele and their needs. She is a devoted employee, eagerly accepting new tasks or responsibilities, responding with: ‘Tell me what you want and when you want it done.’ Her commitment and passion characterize public health nursing at its finest.”
In the past five years, Cathy has taken a special interest in investigating communicable disease. In that time, she’s conducted nearly 1500 disease investigations, involving 33 different disease conditions. In one recent case, she was instrumental in assisting the local epidemiologist in identifying and following up on the source of the foodborne illness campylobacter, which is caused by consuming undercooked meats or poultry. The Health District’s efforts were published in the “Infectious Emerging Disease Journal” in February 2013.
Even when she’s not working, Cathy’s dedication to the community’s health shines through her volunteer work with a variety of civic organizations, including 4-H, the County fair, local festivals and her church. She helps the local rescue squad as a CPR instructor, seeking out and providing this lifesaving training to school staff, loggers, caregivers and many others. She also teaches health and wellness classes for churches
and community groups whenever requested. She has even been contacted after hours by patients who have called her or dropped by her home for assistance.
Cathy was selected from four regional public health nurses of the year, and represents the Northwest Region. Congratulations to runners up for the 2013 Public Health Nurse of the Year: Karen Valk (Southwest Region), Belinda Booker (Eastern Region) and Tracey Avery-Geter (Central Region).