Pittsboro, NC – The North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors honored Chatham County Health Director Layton Long as the 2016 Health Director of the Year at its annual awards meeting luncheon on January 20. Mr. Long, who joined the county in 2013, has spent over 27 years working to improve public health across North Carolina. He has been a health director for over 10 years, previously serving as the health director in Davidson County.
Mr. Long was recognized for his “leadership and commitment to the health and well-being of the residents of Chatham County.” During his tenure with the county, he has been instrumental in several important initiatives, including tobacco control, an updated animal control ordinance, and the formation of the Chatham Health Alliance.
Chatham County Board of Heath Chair John Kessler praised Mr. Long’s leadership, saying, “We have been extremely fortunate to successfully recruit Layton to lead the Health Department and serve the citizens of Chatham County. Layton is remarkably evidence-based in his decision making, pragmatic in solving problems, and politically astute in considering the intended and unintended consequences of his actions and the Board’s policy making process.”
In addition to Mr. Long’s family, Chatham County staff and leadership, including County Manager Renee Paschal, were on hand to surprise Mr. Long as he received the award. “We had fun watching him rendered speechless for the first time any of us could remember,” recalled Ms. Paschal. “We all knew we had the state’s best health director and now it’s been officially confirmed.”
Upon receiving the award, Mr. Long recognized his staff and family members who drove from across the state to join him. Mr. Long stated that “it was at total surprise in receiving the award but truly an honor to be recognized by my public health peers. Having all of my family there to see me receive the award was something that I will always cherish. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work in Chatham County with such an outstanding staff, supportive Board of Health, County Commissioners and county management.”
The North Carolina Health Director of the Year Award was created by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and is implemented through the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors, an affiliate of the NCACC. It is given to an individual for outstanding leadership in both public health in North Carolina and for leadership and involvement in local community and civic activities. Mr. Long was nominated for the Health Director of the Year Award by staff at the Chatham County Health Department.