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Vermont Health Department’s Heart and Soul Highlighted at 2020 Con Hogan Award Celebration

The Vermont Department of Health was honored with the 2020 Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership at a virtual ceremony that was livestreamed on Wednesday, December 9th.

Click above to watch the ceremony and click here to view the digital program handout. 

The award recognizes leaders who share Con’s vision of a Vermont that places the highest value on the public good and who seize the responsibility for making that vision real.

In a break with previous years, the Award Committee suspended the $15,000 cash prize to an individual to recognize the entire staff of the Health Department for their exemplary performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the event, Dr. Mark Levine noted that the Health Department’s work is usually not as visible to the public as it has been this year, and he credited the department’s more than 500 staff members with the state’s success in containing the coronavirus. “I couldn’t begin to do my job as Health Commissioner without the extraordinary effort given by every member of the Health Department,” Dr. Levine said.

In a pre-recorded message, Governor Phil Scott praised the department and its staff: “The silver lining [of this pandemic] is that Vermonters now know and understand the importance of the Vermont Department of Health and appreciate how important public health is,” he said. He drew special attention to the department staff, calling them “talented and dedicated public servants” who “have gone above and beyond, working extremely long hours and all for the public good.”

The governor’s remarks were echoed by Deputy Commissioners Kelly Dougherty and Tracy Dolan. “As you see numbers rise, as you see in some cases deaths rise, the impact that has on our staff on a personal level is profound. Staff feel that … this is our job to contain it,” Dolan said. “The sense of duty is phenomenal.”

Members of the 2020 Con Hogan Award Committee are Will Belongia, Paul Cillo, Steve Dale, Scott Johnson, Ellen Kahler, Jane Kimble, and Diana Wahle.

For more information about the award and past recipients, please visit