For her work in advancing public health, and especially public health in rural communities, City of Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis was honored today with the Founding Dean’s Medallion by Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington Dean Mohammad Torabi.
Given to public health leaders at the Dean’s discretion, the medallion honors those who have made a significant impact in the field of public health. Medallion recipients are those whose careers and personal efforts have been dedicated to rigorous public health research, education, and practice by preventing disease, promoting health, and enhancing quality of life.
Girgis, who has served as Mayor of Bedford since January 2008, started her career in social work after earning both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in the discipline from Indiana University. She served as program director of a residential group home in Indianapolis and offered counseling to individuals, groups and families. She came back to southern Indiana and joined Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation as the director of the Southeast/South Central Area Health Education Center; a job she held for six years.
Girgis then went on to become the executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association from June 2005 to December 2007. In this position, she spearheaded the development of the Indiana Telehealth Network, which received $16 million in grant funds from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to develop a dedicated broadband network that would connect rural health care providers and bring fiber infrastructure to rural communities in Indiana.
“Shawna has provided remarkable leadership to improve health not only in Bedford, but across southern Indiana,” Torabi said. “It’s through your constant advocacy for the most vulnerable, Shawna, that you have truly made a difference in the lives of many.”
As an example, Torabi discussed Girgis’ partnership with the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, Lawrence County Judge Michael Robbins, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in developing a domestic violence prevention program aimed at combatting a severe increase in violent crimes related to domestic issues.
“Shawna has worked tirelessly to develop partnerships to improve public health in the community and confront emerging health issues,” Torabi said. “The Dean’s Medallion is given to the ‘best of the best’ in recognition for their positive and lasting influence on public health. Shawna, you are the best of the best.”