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May 18, 2016

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) has been honored with three Florida Prudential Productivity awards for creating and implementing innovative solutions that improve the delivery of state services and save money for Florida taxpayers and businesses. 

“We are honored with these recognitions and extremely proud of our employees who worked hard to develop these innovative initiatives. Our Public Health employees are committed to protecting, promoting and improving the health of all people in Florida and save money while doing it,” said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, director of the Department of Health in Orange County. 

DOH-Orange received one individual and two team awards from the state’s Prudential Productivity Awards:

Kari Lara-Murabito received an individual award for the use of geographical information system (GIS) to map improperly maintained septic systems throughout Orange County and provide data to show where a sanitary sewer system would be environmentally beneficial. This project would save the citizens of Orange County $5,000,000.

The Nurse-Family Partnership program won a team award. The Department of Health in Orange County in collaboration with the Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County and Heart of Florida United Way is in the second year of this program which is designed for families living in high risk areas of Orange County. This evidence-based program provides low-income mothers with intensive home visiting services during her pregnancy and for two years after the baby is born. Research shows that participation in the program results in improvement in women’s prenatal health, children’s school readiness, father involvement, and maternal employment, as well as reductions in child abuse, and neglect, and emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings. Orange County will save $1,552,200.00 in medical expenses.  Information released by the March of Dimes show that significant savings can accrue from enabling mothers to add a few ounces to a baby’s weight before birth. An increase of 250 grams (about ½ pound) of birth weight saves an average of twelve to sixteen thousand dollars in first year medical expenses. The winning team members included: Penny Smith, Ann McLeod, Keturah Corneille, Tara McHugh, Linda Sutherland, and Ellen Geiger.

The Walk Around the World virtual experience, also a team award, encouraged staff to walk more often while tracking their progress on a virtual world map. This Employee Fitness Initiative was established to encourage DOH-Orange staff to be more active and to promote walking breaks from sitting. Walking is one of the best, most convenient forms of physical activity, and can improve health and fitness. As a result of this initiative DOH-Orange saved an estimated $15,000. Team members included: Karen Johnson, and Marcus Chinfatt. 

For more information about the Prudential Productivity Awards and to see a full list of winners, go to   .