Outstanding Public Health Nurse Award

Outstanding Public Health Nurse Award

To honor an outstanding nurse in our Commonwealth.
Guidelines: Public Health Nursing is the practice of promoting and protecting the health of the population using knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences. The Nominations should reflect outstanding contributions to Public Health nursing practice, community activities and/or professional association activities.

2023 Recipient: Andrea Flinchum, MPH, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC

2022 Recipient: Janice Bright, RN, BSN
Maternal and Child Health Nurse Service Administrator

For over 20 years, this year’s recipient has dedicated her time to serving families, children, and infants across the Commonwealth through maternal and child health initiatives. She has worked in a variety of settings, including school health services, the Office of Children with Special Health Care Needs, Shriners Hospital, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and most recently, the Kentucky Department for Public Health. In these roles, she has assisted with federal audits, developed policies to strengthen facility response in emergency situations, and has navigated difficult situations such as nursing shortages and budget shortfalls.

Letters of support use the following descriptors:
  • “true advocate for her coworkers and the Kentuckians that public health serves.”
  • “never too busy to help solve a problem or lend a sympathetic ear.”
  • “makes me feel supported, heard, and cared for. I am a better nurse because of her.”
  • “constantly builds our team up, while reminding us of our mission to improve the lives of those we serve. She is a true leader.”

2021 Recipient: Michelle Searcy, BSN, RN
Nurse Supervisor II
Franklin County Health Department

Caring, empathetic, attention to detail, a problem solver, patient advocate, good communicator, has a sense of humor are traits that describe this public health nurse. She has had a passion for public health nursing in both the school health and clinic setting over her nearly 20 years of service to KY Local Health Departments in Anderson Co, North Central District and now, Franklin Co. She has always been eager to assist other LHDs with reportable disease investigations, the sharing of services or training.

She is a certified CPR instructor, an ERRT member, serves on local advisory boards, contributes to QI, the Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan, and agency Strategic and Emergency Operations Plans. She demonstrates an understanding of enforcing public health laws and regulations for the protection of public health. She shows a dedication to lifelong learning having earned her BSN six years ago, completed KPHLI and constantly mentors nursing and public health interns and encourages and supports staff participation in KPHA and KPHLI ensuring a competent public health workforce. She reminds all team members that, “Family comes first.”

She began the school health program in Franklin County in 2010 and is the Nurse Supervisor. But like many in the public health system, her role dramatically changed during the pandemic. With schools closing, she did not skip a beat when volunteering herself and her team to staff and operate her health department’s Department of Operations as investigators. She has taken on many roles during this pandemic from investigator, tester, to immunizer and even a celebrity as the “Capitol Nurse.” She has provided statewide televised public speeches concerning the importance of prevention and vaccination.

She is dedicated, an excellent nurse, putting others first. She has said on many occasions "What is our purpose here? It is to provide knowledgeable, passionate care for everyone we have contact with.” She can be quoted as saying, “I was just the one available when we were asked for assistance,” giving credit to others, but she is always the first to volunteer assistance whenever help is needed.

2020 Recipient: Marci Flechler, MSN, RN
Nurse Administrator
Bullitt County Health Department

This year’s nominee for Outstanding Public Health Nurse Award demonstrates a true dedication to public health through her tenure of service. During her time in the field, she has served in many different capacities: HANDS manager, nurse administrator, accreditation coordinator and interim director.

During the Hepatitis A outbreak, the nominee and her local epidemiologist received a prestigious promising practice award for their contributions to contact investigation and administration of hepatitis A vaccine to inmates at their county correctional facility. Her work with the county jailer helped to improve the health of incarcerated individuals and mitigate illness within the facility.

Supporters of our nominee state “she is always available to lend a hand, lead others with confidence, provide structure when it’s needed, and is always there to find the next solution. She is a valuable resource to her direct staff and provides additional support to others throughout the health department when needed”.

Congratulations to Marci Flechler, Nurse Administrator with the Bullitt Co HD.

Past Winners

2019: Virginia Kelly Allen, RN
2018: Sue Thomas-Cox, BS, RN, CCM, CPHM
2017: Sally Brunner
2016: Carolyn Lyons
2015: Carla Basanta
2014: Deborah Ann Jones
2013: Peggy Tiller
2012: Rinda Vanderhoof
2011: Amy Meternowksi
2010: Carla Baumann
2009: Margaret Stevens-Jones
2008: Judy Payne, RN
2007: Anna Katherine Mefford RN
2006: Eula Spears RN
2005: Donna Turner RN
2004: Dora Lander RN
2003: Janita Perry RN
2002: Ann Ratliff RN
2001: Lisa Abner RN
2000: None Given
1999: Evelyn Jones RN
1998: Carrie Branham RN
1997: Kay Stanton RN
1996: Annette Castle RN
1995: Judy Scott RN
1994: Linda S. Webb RN
1993: Sara Eakles RN *
1992: Donna Jo Woods, ARNP
1991: Bettie White RN
1990: Faye Hensley MS RN
1989: Mary Lee Montgomery RN
1988: Mary F. Criswell RN *
1987: Anges Baronowski RN
1986: Lucille Norris RN *
1984: Viola D. Brown ARNP
1983: Ellen M. Buchart RN *
1982: Rhenda K. Mills RN *
1981: Mary Holstrom RN
1980: Ida Whitledge RN