Mount Rogers Health District Repeats Recognition Through National “Project Public Health Ready” Program

February 5, 2023
Media Contact: Meagan Helmick, PhD, MPH, CHES®
Mount Rogers Health District Director

Mount Rogers Health District Repeats Recognition Through National “Project Public Health Ready” Program

(MARION, Va.) The Mount Rogers Health District (MRHD) has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies. The Mount Rogers Health District demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MRHD joins a cohort of more than 550 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.

“We are pleased that the Mount Rogers Health District has received this recognition,” MRHD Director Dr. Meagan Helmick said. “As we emerged from the public health emergency, our team, led by MRHD Public Health Emergency Coordinator, Michael Whiteaker, worked very hard over the course of nearly a year to document the health district’s strengths in all areas. This work allows us to effectively respond to any public health crisis in our health district.”

PPHR recognition confirms that Mount Rogers Health District has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency. Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.

PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local, and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions. The Mount Rogers Health District Emergency Preparedness and Response Program routinely engages with governmental, non-governmental, community and faith-based organizations to ensure the development of public health emergency preparedness plans.  A primary means of such engagement includes active participation within Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), regional healthcare coalitions, multi-state public health emergency coordination council and emergency medical services preparedness committee.

“Public health preparedness planning, response, and recovery begins at the local level. Local health departments play an essential role in creating healthy, resilient communities that can respond to and recover from disasters.” said Lori T. Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer. “NACCHO commends Mount Rogers Health District for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

NACCHO, the voice of the nearly 3,000 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster. Its mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.

The Mount Rogers Health District is committed to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of our diverse community. Through collaborative efforts, innovative programs, and a focus on prevention, the district strives to create a healthier future for all residents. Learn more about the district at

For more information on Project Public Health Ready, including recognized sites, project tools, and resources, visit