Waikato DHB's Dallas Honey is the 2011 Public Health champion
A “tireless” public health worker with the Waikato District Health Board, Dallas Honey, was tonight named Public Health Champion for 2011.
Paying tribute to Mrs Honey at the Public Health Association conference dinner at Lincoln University, the PHA president Monica Briggs said she was an indefatigable “flaxroots worker” who goes all out to improve the health of people in her region, particularly those behind the door when life’s advantages are handed out.
“Dallas Honey is marked by her generosity – in the time and help she gives others, whether that is to the Public Health Association, a young new public health practitioner – or one of her grandchildren.”
Mrs Honey, who manages the Public Health portfolio within Planning and Funding at the DHB has also recently picked up the role of managing the Healthy Eating Healthy Action programme.
Monica Briggs said one of Mrs Honey’s greatest contributions to public health was her encouragement and mentoring of new practitioners, especially Maori and non-medical public health workers.
“She really ‘walks the talk’ of public health. She’s an excellent relationship builder, some of which is due to her long commitment to health promotion. But she’s also a great challenger, questioning the status quo and speaking up when someone needs to ask the questions that have to be asked,” Monica Briggs said.
Mrs Honey trained as a general nurse but after moving from Greymouth to Waikato with her husband and three sons in 1985 she took a new turn, moving into health promotion with the Heart Foundation and later in the public health unit.
She has worked at the district health board for some years where her role has moved from a health promotion focus to one in wider public health including emergency management in primary and secondary care.
Mrs Honey says she feels very humbled to receive the award. “When I think of those who have won this before me, it really is massive. You just do your work and don’t expect it to be recognised in such a way.”
Her public health passion is in trying to narrow the gap between the health status of people who are more advantaged and that of those who are less advantaged.
Mrs Honey says she thinks of her five, soon to be six, grandchildren and what people of her generation will leave them in terms of a physical and social environment. She says that is what drives her to work for environmental sustainability, and equality between the various populations of New Zealanders.