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DHH Secretary Applauds Program Director for Dunbar Award Recognition

Bureau of Primary Care & Rural Health Director Gerrelda Davis receives highest honor in state Civil Service

Friday, January 27, 2012  |  Contact: Media & Communications: Phone: 225.342.1532, E-mail: dhhinfo@la.gov

BATON ROUGE - Today, Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein praised Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health Director Gerrelda Davis for her dedication to the people of Louisiana and congratulated her on receiving the Charles E. Dunbar, Jr. Career Service Award.

"Gerrelda absolutely deserves to join the ranks of distinguished Dunbar award recipients," said DHH Secretary Greenstein. "Each and every day she serves as a role model to her colleagues, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to the people of Louisiana. We are fortunate to have her on our team."

The Civil Service League will honor Davis for her exceptional service to the people of Louisiana at the 53rd annual Charles E. Dunbar, Jr. Career Service Award luncheon today, Jan. 27. The Dunbar Award is the highest honor classified state employees can receive for their service to the citizens of Louisiana. Nominees are judged on commitment to the classified service, contributions toward workplace improvement, personal initiative, and volunteer community service.

"As the director of our Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health, Gerrelda oversees programs that have a tremendous impact on our citizens, particularly those who live in rural communities and medically underserved areas," said J.T. Lane, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health. "Every day she is making a difference in the lives of Louisianians, whether through chronic disease prevention, recruiting medical providers to Louisiana or creating environments that help people make healthier choices. It's an honor for the Office of Public Health to have an outstanding member of our team recognized."

Davis has served the Department in a number of different capacities for 18 years. She has been in the director of the Bureau of Primary Care & Rural Health since 2007. In this role, Davis is responsible for the management and oversight of more than 40 professional and support personnel, as well as the administration of four service units, including the Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Unit; the Health Systems Development Unit; the Operations Support Unit; and the Practice Management Consulting Unit. She works closely with other departmental agencies, federal and state partners, and stakeholders and serves as a principal advisor to rural and underserved community leaders and other agencies in analyzing health care needs. 

Since Davis took her post in 2007, the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health improved primary care access in 23 parishes by assisting communities to add 41 new Federally Qualified Health Center access points and 35 new Rural Health Clinics; acquired more than $800,000 in grant funding; worked to place 257 providers; and awarded $4.2 million to 117 providers in student loan repayment funding.

In addition to professional performance, the Civil Service League considers nominees' community involvement when selecting Dunbar award recipients, an area in which Davis excels. Davis is active member of her church and Lyle Henderson and the Pinnacle Gospel Choir. The choir has performed at a number of major events throughout the state. Some of its most memorable performances include participating in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and singing in the Disney film, "The Princess and the Frog." Ms. Davis also serves her community by sitting on several civic boards and helping revitalize New Orleans.

Tracie Ingram, Davis's colleague who nominated her for the Dunbar Award, said, "Gerrelda has inspired me as a public servant through her tireless work, her steadfast leadership, and her inexhaustible positive attitude.  After serving the public all week long she still finds time to volunteer, be a long-standing member of her church and help countless individuals. She goes about all of this quietly without ever drawing attention to herself or seeking any recognition. For that exact reason, her silent service to others, I thought we as civil servants and citizens of Louisiana should recognize her." 

Davis' commitment to the community extends to the workplace where she has led by example in her charity work. She initiated a program within the Bureau of Primary Care & Rural Health to in which the staff selects meaningful charities to donate to throughout the year.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's blog at www.myhealthla.org, Twitter and search for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals on Facebook.