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Dr. Wilma J. Wooten Honored with Prestigious California Public Health Award | News

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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) honored County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma J. Wooten with its highest recognition, the Beverlee A. Myers Award for Excellence in Public Health.

The Beverlee A. Myers award is presented annually for outstanding leadership and dedication to all aspects of public health.

During the awards ceremony in Sacramento, CDPH leadership honored Dr. Wooten’s 23 years of County service, highlighting her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic

“The COVID adversity didn’t just build her character. It revealed her character,” said Susan Fanelli, Chief Deputy Director at CDPH, during the awards presentation. “Throughout her life, Dr. Wooten has broken barriers and has served as a role model for young people, especially Black American girls who wish to pursue a career in medicine and science.”

Dr. Wooten joined the County of San Diego in 2001 and was named Public Health Officer in 2007.

She was born in rural Alabama and was the first person in her family to go to college. She graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta with a degree in biology then earned her Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she also completed her doctorate at the school of medicine.

In her remarks, Dr. Wooten highlighted the support from her Public Health Services team and fellow health officers throughout the state. She was dedicated to following the American Public Health Association’s “10 Essential Public Health Services” and shared some of the “truths” that have served her well.

“Make sure to socialize what you think is a ‘great idea’ with those you think are supportive, as well as with those reluctant, opposed or impacted by your important policy, practice, or program,” she said. “And don’t ignore things that you cannot change.”

The Beverlee A. Meyers award was established in 1993 in honor of the late Beverlee A. Myers and her 25-year career with CDPH.

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