(Salisbury, MD.) Dr. Roger Merrill from Perdue Farms was recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Public Health Leader for Wicomico County at a ceremony held April 8, 2014 at the Fritz Health Center in Salisbury. The 18th annual award ceremony was held in recognition of National Public Health Week, April 7-13, 2014. Accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Merrill was Perdue Farms CEO Jim Perdue and staff members Jeanne Mills and DebLowry.
Dr. Merrill was recognized for implementing a corporate Health Improvement Program at Perdue Farms facilities and corporate offices. Starting with a baseline risk appraisal, associates regularly receive attention from Health Coaches and are also encouraged to engage with primary medical care. Dr. Merrill’s program has attained improved outcomes and patient satisfaction, and has gone far beyond the third goal of ‘bending the cost curve.’ He managed to reduce company medical costs while improving patient outcomes. “The Health Improvement Program that Dr. Merrill helped Perdue develop embodies principles which public health and other medical system leaders have been trying to implement for years,” said Lori Brewster, Health Officer for Wicomico County. “His successes are a model for the current efforts at managing population health on a broader scale.” Dr. Merrill is to be commended for his efforts to significantly improve the health of Perdue Farms staff and for his accomplishment on being recognized as Wicomico County's 2014 Outstanding Public Health Leader.
In addition to The Public Health Leader award, three Health Officer’s Awards of Excellence and the 2013 WicomicoHealth Employee of the Year awards were presented. David Shipley from Wicomico Emergency Services was honored for hard work and dedication to protecting the community during extreme weather events, monitoring heat and cold and power outages. Tammy Griffin, Wicomico Health Public Information Officer, was honored for her tireless efforts to keep the community up to date with public health information by collaborating with PAC14, local media outlets and through social media. James Lees, Wicomico Health IT department, was honored for innovation and automation of technology to display health data that provides information to decision makers to direct resources to the most pressing areas within the community. Cathey Insley from Prevention and Health Communications was recognized as Employee of the Year, nominated for her dedication and willingness to help wherever she is needed within the agency. Please join me in recognizing each awardee for their dedication to the community.