May 27, 2024

The Chautauqua County Health Department (CCHD) is acknowledging the critical work that nurses perform every day in honor of National Nurses Week, which begins today and runs through Sunday, May 12th, the birthday or Florence Nightingale, who is often recognized as the “founder” of modern nursing. This year, the American Nurses Association has chosen the theme “Nurses Make the Difference” to honor the varying roles of nurses and their positive impact on our lives.

CCHD is taking advantage of National Nurses Week to recognize one of their own staff, Cathy Burgess, Director of Community Health Nursing, who was recently awarded the Outstanding Contribution for Individual Public Health Service in a Rural Community award. This prestigious award was presented last week at the 2024 New York State Public Health Partnership Conference in Saratoga Springs, an annual statewide gathering of health officials and staff. Burgess began her career 30 years ago as a Registered Nurse at WCA Hospital, where she worked in the Medical-Surgical Unit. Two years later, she started her work at CCHD. During her tenure, she has worked within most of the six core functions of the local health department that include Family Health, Communicable Disease Control, Chronic Disease Prevention, Community Health Assessment, Environmental Health, and Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Burgess manages and coordinates the CCHD’s Community Health and Nursing Division that includes the Welcome Home Baby program, hospital rounds, numerous lactation and breastfeeding support services, environmental intervention projects, Article 28 clinical services, communicable disease services and surveillance, family health services, and chronic disease prevention. Most notably is her leadership in the areas of COVID-19 coordination, as well as reaching, developing and growing a trusted and flourishing relationship with our school population. She is also credited with the monumental undertaking of earning the National Commission on Correctional Health Care accreditation for our county jail system on behalf of CCHD’s intra-county partnership to provide on-site correctional health services.

Pictured, from left to right: Sarah Ravenhall, New York State Association of County Health Officials Executive Director; Cathy Burgess, Chautauqua County Health Department Director of Community Health Nursing; Nancy McGraw, New York State Association of Rural Health Board Member and Treasurer; and Brett Harris, New York State Public Health Association President.

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