Texas Public Health Association (TPHA) presented the James E. Peavy Memorial Award to Victoria Yeatts, MSN, RN, at their annual education conference in San Antonio, Texas, on March 21, 2013. Ms. Yeatts is Deputy Director of Health for the City of Garland. The award is presented annually to the public health worker in Texas who has made significant contributions to the advancement of public health knowledge or practice or who has demonstrated a genuine concern for the health needs of society. It is TPHA’s highest accolade for outstanding health professionals and serves as a living memorial to James E. Peavy, M.D., who served as Texas Commissioner of Health from 1959 until his retirement in 1975.
As administrator of Garland’s public health clinic for the past sixteen years, Ms. Yeatts has established essential community partnerships, resulting in increased immunization rates and improved health for the children of her city and surrounding areas. By collaborating with the local school district, her back-to-school immunization clinics have provided required and recommended vaccinations to not only local students, but also their families, teachers, and school administrators and staff.
In addition to providing immunizations in her community, Ms. Yeatts and her staff of registered nurses provide well-child exams, communicable disease surveillance and prophylaxis, Perinatal Hepatitis B case management/monitoring, population assessments, tuberculosis screening, and community health education. Under Ms. Yeatts’ leadership, the staff oversees the Texas Vaccines for Children program in the area and provides international travel vaccines for area residents.
By recently becoming a private insurance provider, Ms. Yeatts’ clinic makes preventive health services available to the entire community, whether insured or uninsured. Not only does being an insurance provider help meet the needs of the community, but it also enables the clinic to be a public health “safety net” for the neediest citizens in the area by providing funds to expand services.
Ms. Yeatts also serves on the Texas Department of State Health Services Public Health Funding and Policy Committee. The nine-member committee was created by SB 969 to make recommendations related to funding, as well as more general public health policy issues. Ms. Yeatts hopes that by serving on this committee she will leave a legacy of efficient and affordable basic health services to the citizens of Texas.