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Local health reporter wins state “Public Health Champion” award

The Daily Herald reporter Sharon Salyer was nominated by the Snohomish Health District

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The local celebration of National Public Health Month began with displays in all the county’s public libraries and some County buildings, and is continuing with a statewide “Public Health Champion” award to local health reporter Sharon Salyer of The Daily Herald (Everett) from the Washington State Public Health Association in the media recognition category:


Through her sound and persistent reporting, Sharon Salyer has become a valuable asset to public health. As a reporter for the Daily Herald in Everett, Ms Salyer covered all aspects of Snohomish County’s public health system. Her recent coverage of the countywide whooping cough epidemic was invaluable to the educational efforts involved in controlling the outbreak. At a Snohomish County clinic that delivered over 400 doses of the pertussis vaccine, 8 of 10 people seeking the vaccine indicated they learned of the clinic through the newspaper. By keeping this issue in the public eye over the course of many months, she’s been instrumental in raising awareness of pertussis and prompting residents to seek out vaccinations.


“Sharon Salyer is dedicated to presenting useful information to the public, and she has been exceptionally helpful in getting the word out about the whooping cough epidemic in Snohomish County,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. “Her work and words have raised public awareness of the scope and severity of the epidemic, leading many residents to seek the vaccination that prevents the spread of the disease.”

Snohomish Health District posters and information are at libraries throughout the county. The atrium of the health district’s main offices is decked out with banners proclaiming the impact of local public health professionals. Those same employees can be identified as they work out in the community both by their health district ID as well as a special “I am public health” button.

The Board of Health, made up of 15 elected officials from around the county, passed a resolution stating the reasons for Public Health Month. It states that the Snohomish Health District is always working for a safer and healthier population by:

  •       Overseeing septic systems and solid waste to protect human health and the environment
  •       Permitting 3,000 restaurants,1,000 temporary food establishments and 200 schools
  •       Providing nutrition and education to 14,497 children and mothers through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC)       program
  •       Issuing 337,166 birth and death certificates

Later in the month, State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky will address health district employees at an all-staff meeting, then meet with community leaders at a “Partners in Health” reception.

The Snohomish Health District is the local public health agency for Snohomish County. Its programs and services are devoted to creating a healthier and safer community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Learn more about the work of the Health District at