Health Commissioner Announces 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year

May 9, 2019

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Larry Hill, Eastern Region PIO, 757-683-9175 or

Annual award presented during Virginia Public Service Week and National Nurses Week 2019

(Suffolk, Va.)— State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver today presented the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year award to Yvonne Creech, who runs the nursing home screening program for the Suffolk Health Department in the Western Tidewater Health District. Creech’s love for public health, her dedication and her passion for improving her community’s health has led to her recognition as Virginia’s 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year.

“Yvonne is a great example of the many characteristics we value in our public health nurses: dedicated, a motivator, passionate about helping patients, mentor, first responder and so much more,” said Dr. Oliver. “She truly embodies our agency’s mission of protecting the health and promoting the well-being of all people in Virginia. I am extremely proud to honor her as our 2019 Public Health Nurse of the Year, and I want to thank all of our public health nurses for their tireless dedication and commitment to the communities they serve.”

Creech has been with the Suffolk Health Department for five years. In nominating her for this honor, her colleagues describe Creech as “an amazing and valued employee; a dedicated public health professional who leads by example;” and, someone who “works tirelessly to ensure clients’ needs are met and excels at customer service.” This past September she was one of 34 VDH and Medical Reserve Corps nurses who volunteered to deploy to North Carolina to assist those displaced by Hurricane Florence.

Runners up for this year’s prestigious award included three Regional Nurses of the Year: Jessica Ong, Fairfax County Health Department (Northern Region); Joanna Cirillo, Chickahominy Health District (Central Region); and Careen Rodgers, West Piedmont Health District (Western Region).

“Public health nurses are often on the frontline of care in their community,” said Deputy Commissioner for Community Health Services Robert W. Hicks. “Nurses like Yvonne, Jessica, Careen and Joanna can often be found working long hours with one goal in mind: enhancing the health of their communities. Thank you to all of Virginia’s public health nurses for their commitment to making sure their clients and families receive the best care possible.”

The announcement of Virginia’s Public Health Nurse of the Year falls during National Nurses Week, which begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.  To learn more about public health nursing in Virginia, visit: