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Public Health awards recognize businessman, county health director

Release Date: February 2, 2010
Contact: Carol Schriber, 919-733-9190

RALEIGH — The head of the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Wilkes County health director have each been awarded the 2010 Public Health Legacy awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to public health in the state. The two awards were announced by State Health Director Jeff Engel at the 2010 State Health Directors Conference in Raleigh on Jan. 29.

Named for former North Carolina State Health Director Dr. Ron Levine, the annual awards honor individuals whose work and commitment on behalf of the public’s health has resulted in significant, sustainable and positive improvements to health and quality of life in North Carolina.

Paul M. Stone, president and CEO of the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association, received the Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award for Statewide Impact on Public Health for his efforts to protect restaurant and bar workers and patrons from second-hand smoke, helping North Carolina become the first tobacco-producing state in the nation to pass legislation making restaurants and bars across the state smoke-free. The new law became effective Jan. 2, 2010.

“The smoke-free restaurants and bars law was several years in the making, and there is agreement that it was the support of the business community that made the difference in the end,” said Engel. “Paul Stone’s leadership was to work with his board and bring the board along, and they became a key factor in the debate over this legislation. The result was passage of a strong bill in May 2009 that is good for business as well as good for health.”

Engel also recognized Stone for his contributions in planning the business tools that have assisted the 24,000 businesses in North Carolina that must come into compliance with the new law.

Beth Lovette, Wilkes County health director since 2002, was presented with the Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award for Local Innovation in Public Health. Lovette is known for her tireless leadership in improving health in the community and state and for advocating with policymakers and legislators for public health issues.

Through boards and through partnerships with schools, hospitals, non-profits and other organizations, Lovette has worked to build collaborations, develop and implement action plans for the community’s health, improve children’s health and tackle childhood obesity, improve access to care for the uninsured, and address the high rate of accidental deaths due to prescription drug overdoses, as well as to expand health care services and build a stronger health care system in the community. Under her leadership, the Wilkes County Health Department was accredited by the state in 2006.  

Print Quality Photo: 1MB JPG: PHOTO ID (L-R): State Health Director Jeff Engel, Paul Stone, Beth Lovett and Dr. Ron Levine.



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