Health Equity Office continues to observe Women’s History Month

March 22, 2022

Health Equity Office continues to observe Women’s History Month

MOBILE, Ala. — As part of Women’s History Month, the Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office will continue to highlight women within MCHD who exemplify this year’s theme of “women providing healing, promoting hope.”

We are highlighting women from various roles and from all walks of life who are all essential to healing and hope. This week we will be featuring Dr. Tonya Dobbs, Gertrude Hawkins, Stacy Orr, Amy Rosson, and Heather Stafford to celebrate their achievements and contributions. The article was submitted by Skandan Ananthasekar, a Health Equity Office Outreach Educator.

Dr. Tonya Dobbs

Dr. Tonya Dobbs is a pediatrician who has worked at the Eight Mile Family Clinic for 16 years. She cares for patients from birth to adulthood, serves as a clinical preceptor for medical students, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, and is the pediatric clinical director at the agency. One of the most rewarding things about her job is that she can see patients thrive from infancy to adulthood. She enjoys working with a compassionate and dedicated staff who care deeply about the patients and families they serve. She also loves being able to see the positive impact that the agency has on the community.

Dr. Dobbs has always been passionate about medicine and helping people. During her residency, she worked in underserved areas and witnessed firsthand the lack of access to healthcare services that many communities face. Being able to see the positive impact public healthcare centers have on communities made her want to pursue a career in public health medicine. She completed her training after Hurricane Katrina, when so many families were displaced and needed medical services and care. That experience also helped her realize how important healthcare providers were to communities. By working at MCHD, she can fulfill her commitment to providing access and great quality healthcare to families in need.

Dr. Dobbs is able to advance health equity in our community by bridging the access gap to health care, improving the quality of life of our community, providing preventative health screenings, and providing education to patients and families.

Gertrude Hawkins

Gertrude Hawkins is a security officer at Keeler who has worked with MCHD for three years. Gertrude enjoys her co-workers and that she can bless the lives of the people she encounters.

Gertrude described working as a security officer at MCHD as God’s purpose for her because she is a people person. Gertrude always greets the people that come into Keeler with a cheery attitude and can brighten their day simply by having a conversation with them. Especially when people are going through a hard time in life or having a bad day, Gertrude makes people’s day better with a smiling face and positive word. This can cause a chain reaction where positively impacting one person’s life can have a positive impact on the people they encounter. Even with new hires, Gertrude alleviates some of the nervousness that comes with a new job by being sure to get to know people who are new to the agency and providing words of encouragement.

By providing a safe environment and a high level of customer service, Gertrude is clearly committed to providing healing and promoting hope.

Stacy Orr

Stacy Orr is a custodial worker at Keeler who has been with the agency for two and a half years. Stacy enjoys her co-workers and how everybody has a smile on their face and truly enjoys the work they do.

Stacy’s work is vital because she makes sure that everybody’s work environment is clean and neat. Everybody at Keeler appreciates her hard work because it is easier to do your job when you are in a neat and attractive space. Stacy also puts a smile on the face of the people she encounters with her kind and friendly personality. Through her dedication, Stacy is contributing to the mission of healing and hope.

Amy Rosson

Amy Rosson is an accountant II in the Finance Department who has been with the agency for nine years. Amy enjoys her co-workers, the benefits at MCHD, and that she learns something new every day.

Amy worked at University of South Alabama’s Healthcare System prior to coming to MCHD. She was surprised to learn about how much MCHD does in the community. Her passion for public health grew as she learned about all the different programs and departments at MCHD. Through her work in accounting, payroll, and budgeting, her work helps to support the mission of MCHD and its work to improve health equity for our community.

Heather Stafford

Heather Stafford is an Environmental Health Specialist III with the Onsite Division who is also certified as a Public Health Soil Specialist. Heather has been with the agency for 17 and a half years (she checked on Kronos).

When Heather graduated high school, she planned to pursue a career in the medical field but after her first health class she realized she didn’t have the stomach for it. However, she really enjoyed the chemistry and biology classes, so she switched to an Environmental Management major.

Before her position at MCHD, Heather worked briefly for a private environmental consulting agency where the policy was that the men do the field work and women were in the lab. She is thankful that MCHD is an equal opportunity employer that allows here to do fieldwork even in a field dominated by men.

The goal of the Onsite Division is to make sure that every person in Mobile County not serviced by the public sewer has an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system that is permitted and functional. This way it does not create a potential public health hazard nor contaminate groundwater or state waters. The Onsite Division evaluates the system design applications to ensure they comply with their rules and regulations before permitting, inspects the actual installation of systems, and makes sure homeowners/landlords maintain and repair their systems when needed through the compliance/complaint program. Heather’s work clearly advances health equity because through education, notification, and enforcement she makes sure that no person, regardless of their social or economic situation, has to live without a functioning, permanent method of sewage disposal.

Heather goes to new sites every day, meets new people, and each of the soil borings she does is unique which keeps the work interesting. She loves being active and outdoors (even if questions her career choice during the hottest summer months). She is thankful that she found a job that is a good fit for her and is looking forward to being able to retire early.


This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00.  The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.