Ministries of Health, Education and PEMA Announce Governor’s Awards of Excellence Recipients
Harrisburg –Governor Tom Wolf on Thursday announced the recipients of the Governor’s Achievement Awards, which include a multi-agency award for staff from the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Education, and Emergency Management Agency for having organized targeted vaccination sites to vaccinate 112,565 teachers and school support staff in an unprecedented period of 20 days.
Individual members of the award-winning agencies include Director of Nursing, Office of Community Health Systems Jennifer Shirk (DOH); Kira Lemmons (PEMA), Public Safety Education and Awareness Specialist; and Kari Worley Special Advisor to the Secretary (PDE).
“This inter-agency collaboration of more than 200 dedicated staff was able to vaccinate teachers and support staff quickly and efficiently, resulting in a return to a safe in-person school environment,” the Secretary said. Acting Health, Dr. Denise Johnson. . “This operation shows how effectively and efficiently state agencies can work to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians.”
Through the DOH, public and private K-12 educational and support personnel had the opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccines early in the vaccine rollout, when it was difficult to find and schedule appointments.
Within 20 days, the team worked with the Intermediate Unit’s unified educational and support staff coordination group to establish a concept of operations that coordinated vaccine distribution, transportation, daily security, management of cold chain and dose administration.
PEMA supported the DOH and coordinated the efforts of multiple entities, including state and county agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. PDE was responsible for organizing the 28 IU vaccination sites. Multi-agency collaboration succeeded in preparing sites by arranging work schedules, staffing, training, scheduling vaccine appointments and ensuring safety precautions were followed, all of which enabled a rapid, coordinated and effective response.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of these Commonwealth employees who worked many late hours and weekends to get the job done, our students were able to return to their classrooms,” Acting Education Secretary Eric said. Hagarty. “These employees exemplify a dedication and passion for their work that goes beyond the scope of their duties and helps make Pennsylvania a safer place to live.”
“The success of this statewide mission demonstrates the expertise and teamwork that is essential to overcoming logistical challenges in a short 20-day deployment,” said PEMA Director Randy Padfield. . “This operation is a great example of how state agencies can work together to implement critical, responsive operations to keep Pennsylvanians safe.”
The Governor’s Awards of Excellence recognize Commonwealth employees for exemplary work performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation and/or increased efficiency. A total of 50 employees from 12 agencies received awards for their achievements in 2021.