Community partner recognizes Dr. Holt's leadership, service

Dr. Holt accepts his award from MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of the Hillsborough County School District.

Douglas Holt, MD, FACP, recently received the USF Area Community Civic Association’s Edwin Radice Distinguished Service Award for his leadership in public health and community partnering. Dr. Holt is director of the Hillsborough County Health Department (HCHD) and professor and associate director of the USF Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine. The Edwin Radice Award recognizes individuals or groups who have consistently “given of themselves for the enrichment of others and betterment of their communities.”

In addition, the county’s “Back to School Coalition,” received a Community Appreciation Award for its initiative to ensure all Hillsborough County children entering a Florida school for the first time receive physicals and immunizations. Margaret Ewen, HCHD immunization program manager, accepted the award on behalf of the department.

Both awards were presented Oct. 13 at the civic association’s 20th Annual Awards Ceremony, attended by more than 1,000 people, including legislators, city and county commissioners, school board representatives and other community leaders.

Dr. Holt was recognized for his leadership and support of the Back to School Coalition and USF Health’s BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic.

Each year before the start of the school year, more than 3,500 children receive free physicals and immunizations at eight strategically located Back to School Coalition sites across Hillsborough County. The service has reduced the number of clients filling the Health Department clinics and reduced the wait time for appointments at pediatrician’s offices after school has begun.

Dr. Holt has been a pioneer in raising awareness among USF medical students about the importance of giving back to communities in need. He helped to establish the student-run BRIDGE Clinic, which brings free primary care and social services to uninsured people living adjacent to USF in the heart of the University Area Community. BRIDGE (Building Relationships and Initiatives Dedicated to Gaining Equality), operates out of the health department’s University Area Health Clinic. Each week USF students in medicine, physical therapy and social work provide faculty-supervised care to underserved patients.

Under Dr. Holt’s leadership, the Hillsborough County Health Department has initiated new alliances with community organizations and universities to advance the public health system and better leverage its available funding. Dr. Holt directs the fourth largest of Florida’s 67 county health departments. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the USF College of Medicine and been a faculty member since 1989.

– Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications

BRIDGE Clinic, USF Health Service Corps awarded for community service