Owusu, EMBRACe receive honors for outstanding public health work in FY23

Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Board of Health announced its annual award winners on Monday, May 22, 2023, honoring both an employee and community partner who excelled in improving and contributing to the county’s public health in the past fiscal year.

Samantha Owusu was chosen as the Chatham County Public Health Department Employee of the Year

Samantha Owusu, MSW, LCSW, was chosen as the Chatham County Public Health Department (CCPHD) Employee of the Year. Owusu has worked with the department since July 2020, first as a Care Manager with the Care Management for At-Risk Children (CMARC) program and then as a Public Health Social Worker. She was recently promoted to the position of Community Health and Social Work Services Supervisor. Along with her work focused on substance use prevention and harm reduction, injury and violence prevention, mental health systems of care, and centering equity, Owusu has led and been involved with many projects and helped advance the agency’s community-based services, such as the Child Passenger Safety Program. The letter nominating Owusu for this award stated that she is a “proven leader” who “is the embodiment of public health, public service, and selflessness.”

EMBRACe (Equity for Moms and Babies Realized Across Chatham) received the Board of Health’s Community Partner of the Year Award

EMBRACe (Equity for Moms and Babies Realized Across Chatham) received the Board of Health’s Community Partner of the Year Award. EMBRACe is a collaborative grant-funded project dedicated to achieving equitable birth outcomes in Chatham County through community-led systems change. It is a partnership of several community organizations, including the Chatham County Public Health Department, Piedmont Health Services, Chatham Hospital, Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE), Chatham County Department of Social Services, UNC Health and Family Medicine, and the Chatham Health Alliance. The nomination letter for EMBRACe referenced the group’s efforts to rally community support for the Chatham Hospital Maternity Care Center and its recent community retreat focused on equity in birthing in Chatham County. The award was received at the meeting by EMBRACe Coordinating Committee members Casey Hilliard, Jen Medearis Costello, Alisha Bailey, Karinda Roebuck, LeAnn McKoy, Alicia Doran, Samantha Owusu, and Theresa Buchanan.

“I am so proud of this year’s Chatham County Board of Health award recipients,” said Dr. Karen Barbee, Chair of the Chatham County Board of Health. “They exemplify the important work that impacts the health of all Chatham County citizens. Congratulations again to Samantha Owusu and EMBRACe.”

“We are so proud of these deserving recipients,” said Mike Zelek, Chatham County Public Health Director. “Sam is an incredibly well-respected public health professional, social worker, and community leader who embodies public service. EMBRACe highlights the importance of partnership, coordination, community, and equity to address our greatest public health challenges.”

For previous Board of Health award winners, visit HERE. To learn more about the Chatham County Public Health Department, visit HERE or Facebook Page.