Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) public health nurse, Kathleen Woods, R.N., has been chosen as the recipient of the prestigious 2013 State of Georgia Public Health Nursing Practice Excellence Award, (District 3-1).

The State Public Health Award for Nursing Practice Excellence is given by the Georgia Department of Public Health’s office of nursing to recognize nurses at the state, district and local levels for their contributions and commitment to public health nursing. The award recognizes a nurse practitioner in the state who demonstrates excellence in:

Providing leadership or technical assistance within a public health district and/or collaborating with external partners in the development of policies, procedures, standards and/or guidelines regarding public health issues.

Contributing to the development of teamwork in a consistent, professional and positive manner. Applying the principles of behavioral science, social science, epidemiology and/or prevention to the goals of improving the health status of Georgians.

CDPH Nurse Receives the 2013 State of Georgia Public Health Nursing Practice Excellence Award

(L-R): Diane Durrence, RNC, MSN, MPH, District Director of Clinical Services, Cobb & Douglas Public Health District; Carol Jakeway, RN, DPH’s Chief Nurse of the Georgia Department of Public Health; Kathy Woods, RN, District Children’s 1st Coordinator; Meshell McCloud, Deputy Chief Nurse of the Georgia Department of Public Health; and Laurie Ross, BSN, Director, Birth to Five Division Cobb & Douglas Public Health District.


Woods is a highly credentialed and licensed public health nurse and has practiced safe sleep advocacy and injury prevention for the birth to five-year population for more than 17 years. Her passion for child safety began when, as a staff nurse, she provided Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) checkups and Children 1st assessments.

“Kathy Woods is an unwavering champion for our littlest Georgians,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Through her leadership and dedication to injury prevention and safe sleep for babies, Kathy has helped save the lives of hundreds of children.”

Woods has developed and delivered risk-reduction strategies for populations identified as, “greatest need” and created opportunities to increase awareness of safe sleep for infants. As CDPH’s safe sleep champion, Woods has brought the safe sleep cause and injury prevention into the spotlight throughout Cobb and Douglas communities.  

“I was very surprised and honored just to be nominated and extra surprised to win. I know I could not have received this award without the dedication and unwavering support provided by the caring team of persons I work alongside. Nursing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, and I have been so blessed to find my way to public health,” said Kathleen Woods, R.N., Children 1st Coordinator Cobb and Douglas Public Health.

As the Children 1st coordinator, Woods collaborates with the SAFE Kids program to distribute safety equipment, free of charge, to clients during home visits; equipment includes: (child proofing supplies, gun locks, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and baby gates).

Notably, in 2006 Kathy and her Children 1st team received a grant for $20,000 from a local foundation to purchase pack and play cribs. Kathy was then able to take advantage of the State Crib Match Program in 2007 to acquire three additional cribs for every five purchased with the 2006 funds. In 2010, when state mini grants were offered, Kathy successfully advocated for grant funds to be allocated for safety supplies and cribs. This year, Kathy’s advocacy helped ensure that the Children 1st program received a $3,750 foundation grant for safety supplies and a $2,500 Cribs for Kids grant to maintain needed supplies.

“Kathy is our safe sleep cheerleader! We are all so pleased that Kathy has been recognized for her injury prevention work through the Children 1st program. She has worked hard for many years and really deserves this recognition,” stated Laurie Ross, R.N., director, Birth to Five Division Cobb & Douglas Public Health.

Kathy has been a member of the Georgia Infant Safe Sleep Coalition (GISSC) since 2009. (GISSC is a sub-committee of the Child Fatality Review Panel and is a statewide collaborative initiative among public and private agencies and individuals to prevent sleep-related infant deaths in Georgia).

Woods is also an active member of the Cobb County Child Fatality Review Committee and has partnered with the Fatal