DHEC announces South Carolina winners of National Immunization Awards

August 15, 2022

In celebration of National Immunization Awareness Week, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is pleased to announce the 2022 winners of the Association of Immunization Managers’ annual “Immunization Champion” awards for South Carolina.

Winners are selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. The Immunization Champion awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of individuals who go above and beyond in ensuring immunization access in their communities.

This year’s South Carolina winners are:

  • 2022 Advocacy Award

Allison Ross Eckard, MD
Medical University of South Carolina

  • 2022 Innovation Award

Beth Sundstrom, PhD, MPH
College of Charleston

  • 2022 Partner of the Year Award

Mary Beattie, RN

Cherokee County School District

  • 2022 Leadership Award

Youlanda C. Gibbs, EdD
The Palmetto Palace

  • 2022 Community Collaboration Award

Hanahan Fire and EMS

City of Hanahan Fire Department

A formal press conference to honor this year’s winners and promote immunization awareness will be held this Friday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m. at MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. Featured speakers include DHEC director Dr. Ed Simmer, MUSC’s Dr. Allison Ross Eckard, Prisma Health’s Dr. Anna-Kathryn Rye Burch, Leadership Award winner Ms. Youlanda C. Gibbs and others.

“These awards recognize the importance of immunizations in our communities and honor the people and groups who are truly making a difference,” said Beth Poore, DHEC’s Immunization Outreach and Health Education Coordinator. “Vaccinations help us live safe, healthy, and happy lives by protecting people of all ages from common and serious diseases.”

Dr. Mark Scheurer, Chief, MUSC Children’s & Women’s Health, said Dr. Eckard’s recognition is well-deserved.

“MUSC Children’s Health greatly appreciates DHEC recognizing Dr. Eckerd’s immunization contributions during her career, particularly during the past two-and-a-half years of COVID,” Scheurer said. Her dedication and expertise guides our immunization strategies locally and across our health system.”

For winners such as Gibbs, the award is a satisfying recognition of the long hours, hard work, and tireless determination of those who care passionately about the health of their communities.

“At The Palmetto Palace, we deliberately and methodically reached out to rural South Carolina to raise confidence in the vaccine and bring residents out on weekends so they can get this critically important shot,” Gibbs said. “We are grateful to our teammates, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, DHEC, and the community for entrusting us with administering the vaccines. This award is a win for all.”

Media wishing to attend Friday’s 10 a.m. event may RSVP in advance by emailing [email protected]. A reminder advisory will be sent out this Thursday.