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University of South Florida

COPH names Kim Barnhill Outstanding Woman in Public Health 2012

Kim Barnhill, MPH, has been named the Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health for 2012 by the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

Photo of Dr. Donna Petersen and Kim Barnhill

COPH Dean Donna Petersen presented the award to Kim Barnhill

The USF College of Public Health bestows the award each year to a woman whose career accomplishments and leadership have contributed significantly to the field of public health in Florida. Barnhill was honored at an awards ceremony April 4, 2012, in the COPH Samuel P. Bell, III Auditorium. The award is part of an entire week of events surrounding the College’s celebration of National Public Health Week.

Barnhill, who is currently the administrator for the Jefferson County and Madison County health departments, is known as a vigorous public health advocate, having led initiatives that increased access to dental care, as well as increased healthcare access for uninsured Floridians who fell between the cracks by creating a volunteer service provider network that now provides more than $1 billion in donated health services. She also managed the “front line” of public health in Florida, having managed and planned for all 67 county health departments in the state.

Barnhill was nominated by Michael Napier, administrator for the Seminole County Health Department.

In his nomination letter, he wrote: “Kim is highly respected by her staff, her community and her peers as an action oriented, passion driven public health advocate. She is often sought out for her knowledge and opinions on everything from Legislation, management issues and dealing with complex problems. You will often find her working from early morning to late at night and on weekends moving the public health agenda forward… Without question, Kim Barnhill is the ideal Public Health Woman of the Year who embodies the practice of public health at the service delivery level while making a significant contribution to state and national levels. It is rare to find someone with such passion in the field of public health that is coupled with knowledge and experiential practice who have affected so many people in our state.”

Earlier in her career, Barnhill’s primary public health focus was dental care. She planned and directed preventive program for 37 counties, provided consultation for 106 community fluoridation programs, managed the development of new programs, and assisted in conducting and analyzing needs assessment surveys.

In 1996, Barnhill shifted her focus to helping Floridians who did not have health insurance and did not quality for any form of state assistance have access to quality health care. Working as director of volunteer services, she was instrumental in finding ways to tap into the local community volunteer service providers, such as the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Board of Medicine, the Florida Hospital Association, local providers and local governments, to form volunteer teams to meet the needs of these uninsured Floridians. Now considered a model program, the Volunteer Health Care Provider Program currently provides more than $1 billion in donated health services.

She then became director of Statewide Services in 2000, providing management and planning for all 67 county health departments in the state. In that job, she became involved in the legislative process as a registered lobbyist, planned programs, worked with the budget process, and developed outcome measures.

In 2002, was named administrator for the Madison and Jefferson County Health Departments, both rural health departments with limited health care services. While there, she spearheaded several successful initiatives, including the health Related Careers and College Fairs, increased access to dental services, and linking of key public health principles to improve access to physical activity opportunities in these two rural counties.

Barnhill graduated cum laude from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in health education. She also earned her master’s degree in adult education (gerontology) and a master’s degree in public health from Florida State University. She has been an active member of the Florida Association of County Health Officers, serving as president in 2008 and currently serving as a board member at large.  She has also served as a member of the board of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, a member of board for the National Public Health Foundation, Big Bend Learning Coalition, Apalachee Services, and the Community Traffic Safety Team. She is currently chair of the Big Bend Rural Health Network. She is a member of the FSU Master’s of Public Health Advisory Council, a liaison to the U.S. Taskforce on Community Preventive Services, the Jefferson County Legislative Committee, and a member of the Florida Public Health Association.

The Florida Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award was initiated by USF in 1988, and nominations are solicited from public health practitioners across the state. Past honorees have included Lillian Stark, director of virology at the Florida Department of Health Tampa Branch Laboratory; Jean Malecki, director of the Palm Beach County Health Department; and University of Miami epidemiologist Lora E. Fleming, MD.

To view the full schedule of events and contact information, click here .