By Claire Ninde
San Juan Basin Public Health
On Monday, Liane Jollon, executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH), was presented with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.
Considered one of the most prestigious awards honoring elected officials and career government employees, Jollon is one of five recipients of the award this year.
Citing her resourcefulness and strong advocacy for southwest Colorado and public health agencies across the state, Jollon was honored in the “Career public servant at the local level” category for her exemplary work as a leader in public health during pandemic response. Jollon was nominated for this award by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
“I am proud to accept this award on behalf of all of the public health superheroes at SJBPH and Colorado’s 53 local public health agencies, who spent the year sacrificing in every way to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jollon. “If we’ve learned anything living through the last year of the pandemic, it’s that we’re all in this together, and extraordinary team efforts in public health and across our entire society are what truly make a difference.”
In a news release, Bennet applauded Jollon’s leadership in the community: “For over a decade, Liane has driven SJBPH’s mission to serve Coloradans in La Plata and Archuleta counties. Liane’s leadership and scientific integrity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is a model for thousands of public health leaders throughout Colorado and the country, who have worked under extremely difficult conditions to keep us safe.”
Bennet said, “I am proud that the American Medical Association has recognized Liane’s tireless work throughout the pandemic. On behalf of all Coloradans, I’d like to congratulate Liane and thank her for her leadership and service during a time of great need.”
For over a year, Jollon has helped plan, oversee, and communicate the agency’s response to mitigate the pandemic in southwest Colorado. La Plata and Archuleta counties have been in the bottom 20 percent in Colorado for cases per capita — while also experiencing high tourism and opportunities for in-person learning. Thanks to the public health emergency response, southwest Colorado has had the lowest cumulative infection rate and the highest vaccination rate in the state, according to the Colorado School of Public Health.
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Jollon has worked with leaders in the region and throughout the state to develop and communicate a coordinated public health response,” said AMA Board Chair Russ Kridel, M.D. “The fight against COVID-19 is just the latest challenge Ms. Jollon has taken on during a career devoted to improving public health. I am pleased to present her with our Outstanding Government Service Award.”
Named after the AMA’s founder, the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service recognizes elected and career officials in federal, state and municipal service who have made outstanding contributions to the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Jollon joins more than 200 past recipients who are commended by the AMA as government officials who dedicate themselves to advance the well-being of all.
For more information on the AMA’s Dr. Nathan Davis awards, visit: https://www.ama-assn.org/about/awards/american-medical-association-awards-outstanding-government-service.