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Norovirus Video Wins National Public Health Award

Edwin McCormack, communications director; Caren Halbfinger, public affairs director, Department of Health; County Executive Rob Astorino; Sherlita Amler, commissioner of health; Arienne Malekmadani, CDC intern; Patrick Quinn, program specialist.
Edwin McCormack, communications director; Caren Halbfinger, public affairs director, Department of Health; County Executive Rob Astorino; Sherlita Amler, commissioner of health; Arienne Malekmadani, CDC intern; Patrick Quinn, program specialist. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced that the county Health Department has won a national award for excellence in public health communication for a video designed to help residents avoid norovirus, a stomach bug that tends to strike during winter.

“I am proud that our Health Department has earned this prestigious award,” Astorino said. “Special thanks to Sherlita Amler, M.D., commissioner of health, for her leadership and to the team that produced this video.”

The Health Department won the silver medal in the 2014 Awards for Excellence in Public Health Communication at the National Conference for Health Communication, Marketing and Media, held in Atlanta, for “Helping You Stay Healthy This Season: A Guide to Norovirus Prevention.”

“As anyone who has had it knows, norovirus is extremely unpleasant, but the Health Department’s creative approach to educating the public about this topic should help raise awareness about how to avoid this nasty stomach bug,” Astorino said.

The video appears on the Health Department’s website, at www.westchestergov.com/health. Copies of the DVD also are being distributed to assisted living facilities, colleges and residential schools, among others.

Amler said, “The key take-aways are to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, to avoid handling food or caring for others when you are sick and to stay home for at least 48 hours after your symptoms resolve to avoid spreading germs. We also want any facility that experiences this problem to contact us so that we can give them more specific guidance to help them minimize the disruption.”

The video was produced in-house with Health Department staffers, a CDC fellow and staffers from the Westchester Community College culinary dining room and was filmed at the Westchester Community College Culinary Dining Room and Culinary Lab, with the cooperation of the college.

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