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2007 Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award

2008 Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award Recipients (left to right: John Frank of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; former State Health Director Dr. Ron Levine; Mary Piepenbring of The Duke Endowment; and Thomas Bridges, Henderson County health director)
The co-winners of the 2007 Ronald H. Levine Award for Public Health
were State Sen. William R. Purcell and Rep. Edd Nye. Pictured from
(L-R) are: Carmen Hooker-Odom, Secretary of the N.C. Department
of Health and Human Services; Representative Nye; Senator Purcell;
Dr. Ron Levine, for whom the award was named; and Dr. Leah Devlin,
State Health Director.

State Sen. William R. Purcell and Rep. Edd Nye were awarded the 2007 Ronald H. Levine Legacy Award for Public Health in recognition of each man’s many contributions to public health in North Carolina. The two legislators were presented with the awards by DHHS Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom and State Health Director Leah Devlin at the 2007 State Health Directors Conference in Raleigh on Jan. 26.

Named for former North Carolina State Health Director Dr. Ron Levine, the annual award honors individuals whose life work on behalf of the public’s health has resulted in significant, sustainable and positive improvements in North Carolina’s public health system.

Nye represented the 22nd House district, Bladen County, and served in the N.C. Senate from 1974 to 1976 and in the N.C. House from 1976 to 1982 and 1985 to 2006.

Nye was a member of the Public Health Task Force 2004 and 2006, and was very supportive of establishing both the public health department accreditation process and public health incubators. He played a major part in gaining General Assembly approval for the construction of a new State Laboratory and Medical Examiners Office building.

He has served as chairman of the N.C. House Appropriations Committee, chaired the Select Committee on the N.C. State Employees’ Disability Plan, and was a member of the Education, Ethics, Health, Insurance and Election Law & Campaign Finance Reform committees.

He has previously been honored as Legislator of the Year by the North Carolina Association for Home and Hospice Care, Autism Society, Academy of Family Physicians, and Association of Health Directors. He was recently awarded the order of the Long Leaf Pine for his distinguished and outstanding service to North Carolina.

Purcell, a retired pediatrician, has represented District 25 – Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Stanly counties – for five terms. Previously, he served as mayor of Laurinburg for five terms, and as a member of the city council, president of Laurinburg Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the Scotland County board of health.

In the legislature, Sen. Purcell served as co-chairman of the Appropriations on Heath & Human Services Committee; co-chairman of the Health Care Committee, and a member of the Commerce, Finance, and Mental Health and Youth Services committees.

He was also a member of the Public Health Task Force 2004 and 2006.

He received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at the Medical College of South Carolina.

The ceremony included congratulatory remarks by Dennis Harrington, chief of Public Health’s Administrative, Local and Community Support Section; Dr. Lou Turner, deputy chief of the Epidemiology Section; Jerry Parks, health director for Albemarle Regional Health Services; and Dr. Ron Levine.

In speaking of Sen. Purcell’s and Rep. Nye’s contributions to public health, Dr. Levine said, “These men were invariably on the right side of a call…They always came down with what was best for the people of North Carolina, and they were effective.”

“Their commitment and ability was based on energy, intelligence and integrity,” he said. “They never let the people of North Carolina down.”