Liane Jollon, executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health, was nominated this week by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet for the American Medical Association’s Dr. Nathan Davis Awards for Outstanding Government Service.
Jollon was nominated for her leadership in public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The awards, named for the association’s founder, recognize elected officials and public servants for significant contributions to the advancement of public health.
Jollon’s public health colleagues applauded her nomination for the award, praising her leadership in navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic as case numbers fluctuated across the country.
“Liane has been a stand-out leader both locally and in the state of Colorado during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said SJBPH Board of Health President Ann Bruzzese. “Early on, Liane led with humility helping all the local leaders get comfortable acknowledging that they will have to lead through COVID-19 with many unknowns; at the same time, Liane set the early example for all to follow the data and facts.”
Efforts to reach Jollon for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
As SJBPH’s director, Jollon helped lay out, oversee and communicate the agency’s response to the pandemic since cases first started to rise in March. She also worked with other public health leaders around Colorado to coordinate the state’s pandemic response.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, SJBPH has, under Jollon’s leadership, been conducting contact tracing, operating testing centers and establishing recommendations for the counties based on case numbers and other data to help La Plata and Archuleta counties respond to and mitigate the pandemic.
The agency oversaw early pandemic-related closures and was instrumental in creating the timeline for reopening businesses as time went on.
Bennet announced he was nominating Jollon in a news release this week. He applauded her work in the community as well as her efforts to push for the establishment of a national Health Force to strengthen pandemic response and for advocating leaders in Washington to support communities.
“(Jollon) has been a calm, informed and resourceful leader, advocating not just for her region, but for every other public health agency across the state,” Bennet said in the news release. “She has displayed the leadership and scientific integrity that 2020 demanded. In recognition of her exemplary work as a leader in public health, I am thrilled to nominate her for this award.”
Jollon joined SJBPH as a clinic nurse in 2010 and was named executive director in 2013. The agency seeks to monitor health conditions and support public health resources in La Plata and Archuleta counties; leaders from these counties praised the leadership that earned Jollon the nomination.
La Plata County Manager Chuck Stevens said, “Liane’s innate ability to think strategically while acting tactically has ensured that the citizens of the health district have clearly articulated guidance to protect themselves, and others, as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
John Purcell is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.