Two health policy and management alumni honored with Levine Awards

February 13, 2020

DHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health Mark Benton, Evelyn Foust, Ronald Levine, Belinda Pettiford and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen (Photo courtesy of NC DHHS)

From left to right: DHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health Mark Benton, Evelyn Foust, Ronald Levine, Belinda Pettiford and DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen. (Photo courtesy of NC DHHS)

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has honored two alumni from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. Evelyn Foust, MPH, and Belinda Pettiford, MPH, have received the Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award for outstanding accomplishments and continued commitment to the cause of public health.

Foust and Pettiford received the award at the NC Public Health Leaders’ Conference on Jan. 23.

The Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award is a peer-nominated award named for former State Health Director Dr. Ronald H. Levine. It is given by NCDHHS to those whose hard work and enduring commitment to public health has strengthened the lives of North Carolinians with significant, sustainable and positive improvements to public health across the state. Recipients of the Levine Award have a distinguished history of achievement in improving public health by expanding the scope and impact of services and programs, developing policy or collaborating with the private sector or other partners.

Foust graduated from the Gillings School in 1994 with a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration. She has worked in various roles within NCDHHS’s Division of Public Health for over thirty years. In her early career, she also worked with the Mecklenburg County Health Department as a Disease Intervention Specialist, served as the Division of Public Health HIV/STD director until 2009, and has been in her current role since 2008 as head of the Communicable Disease Branch in DPH’s Epidemiology Section.

Foust has been published in national publications on the topics of HIV and STD transmission, screening and testing. She was honored by the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) with the 2017-18 “William E. Arnold” ADAP Champion of the Year Award for her work to improve access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. She is currently on the Steering Committee of the North Carolina Partnership for Excellence in Applied Epidemiology, a collaboration between the DPH Communicable Disease Branch, the UNC Department of Epidemiology, the North Carolina Institute for Public Health in the Gillings School and the School of Medicine.

Pettiford graduated from the Gillings School in 1993, also with a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration. She started her career with Harnett County Health Department as a Health Educator focused on family planning and health promotion efforts. She has been with the DPH’s Women’s and Children’s Health Section since 1995 and has held her current role as head of the Women’s Health Branch since 2012, where she provides oversight on maternal and child health, sickle cell, tobacco use and numerous programs focused on equity in birth outcomes.

Pettiford has led work with partners around the state to improve the health of women, men, babies and children through the Perinatal Health Strategic Plan and the Early Childhood Action Plan. She currently co-chairs the state’s Perinatal Health Committee of the state’s Child Fatality Task Force and serves on the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She is also on the board of directors for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and the National Healthy Start Association.


Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@unc.edu.

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