Washington State Department of Health’s Tuberculosis (TB) Program recently awarded Peggy Cooley with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Cooley, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Public Health Nurse, has helped to protect Pierce County residents and visitors from exposure to TB since 1996.
She is a 40-year nursing veteran, having served in the U.S. Army at military hospitals and at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District before starting at the Health Department in 1995.
Her significant accomplishments to local public health include monitoring treatment for 495 TB patients, ensuring all patients completed treatment and no longer posed a threat of infection to other community members.
“Peggy has been a tireless champion of TB control for many years and our county is a healthier place because of her work,” said Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH.
Cooley helped develop the unique public-private partnership for TB control in Pierce County, which increases access to services and ensures people with TB receive appropriate treatment. Because of her efforts, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department was the first to use Video Directly Observed Therapy to help ensure patients complete their course of medication. Health jurisdictions around the country now use the convenient, cost saving approach to monitor TB treatment.
She works with patients and medical providers every day to make sure patients with active TB disease complete their six to nine month treatment process—and prevent the spread of the disease.
“Public health workers like Peggy Cooley conduct disease investigations, provide education and the ensure controls are in place to keep our communities safe and healthy,” said SheAnne Allen, state TB controller with the Washington State Department of Health. “Because of their efforts, communicable diseases such as TB are no longer at the top of the list of causes of death in this country.”
About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.