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Brazos County Health District receives 'Local Health District of the Year' award

Posted at 4:39 PM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 11:39:04-05

BRYAN, Texas — The Texas Association of City and County Health Officials just awarded the Brazos County Health District 'Local Health District of the Year,' highlighting its impact on the community and extensive research.

“We were competing against 45 other local health departments in the state of Texas," said Santos Navarrette Jr., Director, Brazos County Health District.

"But we put in a nomination package and the nomination package was based on the increased funding that we’ve received over the last couple of years for services here at the health district."

Dr. Yao Akpalu serves as the Chief Epidemiologist at the Brazos County Health District.

“I’ve been on this job seven years and it entailed collections of reports from the community, from healthcare providers, from individuals about infectious diseases,” Dr. Akpalu said.

Dr. Akpalu has been gathering data across the county on infectious diseases, and working with other local health officials to prevent the spread — and protect the community.

“When we know about the determinants and distribution of diseases in the community, we use that information to make decisions to the control and the transmission and prevention measures that are needed to take to in order to put a hold on the spread of that disease in the community,” Dr. Akpalu said.

The COVID-19 Workforce Development Grant added seven new personnel to the health district — including a nurse practitioner, two nurses, an epidemiologist, a lab technician, and an admin employee.

“These particular positions allowed us to start doing women’s health and men’s health," Navarrette Jr. said.

"We’ve been doing sports physicals, Department of Transportation physicals, and we started the immigration program.'

Receiving multiple grants and applying them towards research and impacting the community led to this award of distinction.

“All these grants culminated in us being recognized as local health department of the year,” Navarrette Jr. said.

“One of the other grants that we got just recently is a Public Health Infrastructure Grant,"

"That was almost two million dollars and with that — we’re going to continue to work in the workforce development and continue to service the men, women, and youth in the community.”

This award, along with Dr. Akpalu being recognized for 'Outstanding Public Health Services' — helps to drive better care and community support.

“No doubt, it’s going to really give me more courage and more determination to put in the best of myself to make sure epidemiology is practiced according to the principles and methods, and then to the benefit of the community,” Dr. Akpalu said.

“We want to make sure we are ready for the next merging threat that we get in the community,” Navarrette Jr. said.

“We need to be prepared,"

"These dollars that we got will help us be able to handful the next pandemic of the future.”