Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) was recently honored with a 2021 Promising Practice Award by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The award celebrates local health departments for developing programs that demonstrate unique approaches and strategies to local public health issues that are on track to becoming Model Practices, NACCHO’s highest recognition for replicable and exemplary programs. Retaining Public Health Professionals was one of 10 local health department programs to receive NACCHO’s Promising Practice Award.

Over the past decade, public health departments have been challenged to “do more, with less” amid dwindling resources, including people. CDPH determined it would take a deliberate approach to strengthening its workforce. This Promising Practice looks at ways to develop, train, and retain current employees for future vacancies. Some of the key components include:

  1. Creating a merit-based pay plan
  2. Developing a succession plan
  3. Implementing cultural competency training
  4. Establishing a shared governance council
  5. Creating a young professionals retention strategy
  6. Establishing a management development strategy

Retaining Public Health Professionals is now part of an online, searchable database of successful public health practices in capacities that range from immunizations and maternal and child health, to infectious diseases and emergency preparedness.

CDPH was also honored by NACCHO with an Honorable Mention designation for the 2021 Innovative Practice Awards. This award celebrates local health departments for developing novel programs that met the needs of their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Power in Truth: The 2020 Virtual Experience was one of 15 local health department programs to receive NACCHO’s Honorable Mention designation for the 2021 Innovative Practice Award.

The Power in Truth Conference (PIT) has been Douglas County’s approach to educate youth about the effects of risky behaviors since 2000. In 2020, CDPH, the Live Healthy Douglas Coalition and the Douglas County School System partnered to create a digital alternative that was cost efficient, convenient, and had the capacity to expand the conference reach. By turning the traditional, one-day, in-person conference into a month-long digital experience, student engagement rose by 83%. Additionally, out of the 2,524 students that completed the conference survey, 93% indicated the 2020 virtual experience was their first time participating in the conference.

Power in Truth: The 2020 Virtual Experience is one of many successful public health practices that took place during the pandemic in areas that range from health equity and face mask distribution programs to contactless delivery methods and drive-through testing.  Read more about these award-winning practices in the Innovative Practices Database.

“We are honored to receive both the Promising Practice Award and the Honorable Mention designation from NACCHO. This confirms that CDPH is committed to developing responsive and innovative public health programs that create healthier lives, and a healthier community,” said CDPH District Health Director, Janet Pak Memark, MD, MPH, FACP.

About Cobb & Douglas Public Health
Cobb & Douglas Public Health, along with the Georgia Department of Public Health, has been committed to the mission of “Healthier Lives. Healthier Community.” since 1920. We are dedicated to improving our residents’ quality of life by tracking and preventing the spread of disease, promoting health and safety, providing exceptional medical services, and ensuring that our community is prepared for public health emergencies. For more information, visit