October 7, 2022
MCHD observes Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) Recognition Day
MOBILE, Ala. — The Mobile County Health Department, along with health departments across the country, will take part today in the 11th annual National Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) Recognition Day. Celebrated each year on the first Friday of October, this honors the DIS workforce that is the backbone of communicable disease prevention and control activities.
The DIS staff are public health warriors that work in health departments and community health centers to perform contact tracing, partner services, and emergency response. They utilize key skills in communication, counseling, interviewing, case analysis, and community engagement to respond to disease threats. These threats include tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, rabies, and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
MCHD’s DIS staff work closely with community healthcare providers and service organizations to raise awareness about disease prevention and ensure linkage and retention in treatment for those diagnosed. For example, our DIS staff have collaborated with academic partners in the “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiative to advocate for testing and preliminary treatment.
The DIS team monitors trends in other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and congenital syphilis, to stage timely interventions. In addition, the DIS staff help educate the community about transmission, exposures, and vaccinations for emerging pathogens, including COVID-19 and Monkeypox.
“I am proud to recognize the tremendous efforts of MCHD’s disease investigators, who are led by Dr. Rendi Murphree. They work on the front lines of public health to reduce disease and death in our community,” said Dr. Kevin Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County.
“The DIS staff are incredibly skilled investigators and contact tracers and champions of prevention measures like vaccination, testing, and treatment. They remain a trusted resource for their clients and community partners, and they have my highest gratitude and respect for their commitment to improving health.”
Staff members who have worked as disease investigators include Melanie Alford, Yvonne Baynard, Karen Bowling, LaTasha Chambers, Peggy Evans, Barbara Gibbs, Annie Glover, Dr. Sandra Henley, Frankietta Horn, Janet Kennedy, Poonam Patel, Cherrite Peterson, Tiffany Rogers, Rashidah Saafir, Shamya Simpson, LaSonja Smith, and Keldricka Wiganowske.
MCHD thanks each of these individuals for their commitment to public health, dedication to community education, and resilience to new challenges.