Gov. Mike Foster announced today that Department of Health Secretary David W. Hood was selected the winner of the 2004 Nathan Davis Award for career public service. The national award is given annually by the American Medical Association (AMA).  

The Nathan Davis Award was established by the American Medical Association in 1989 and is one of the most prestigious forms of recognition for outstanding public service in the advancement of public health.  

Foster nominated Hood for the award. In a letter to Foster, Dr. Michael D. Maves of the AMA wrote, “Given the many nominations submitted this year, it is a high testimony to the caliber of your presentation and the superb level of public service of your nominee.” 

In his nomination, Foster outlined Hood’s efforts to provide health care coverage to more children and pregnant women and to increase access to care through the CommunityCARE program. 

“David provides outstanding and outspoken leadership in government,” Foster wrote. “He made children's health the cornerstone of the state's efforts to improve health care. His leadership helped secure passage and implementation of the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program, one of the most successful such programs in the nation. For the past five years, David has been aggressively committed in promoting the program, resulting in Louisiana topping every other state in the nation in reducing its number of uninsured children.” 

Foster also recognized Hood for efforts that were not popular, but necessary.

Foster wrote, “Due to budget realities, under David’s leadership LDH has had to take unpopular positions and to prioritize spending. At the same time, LDH has pushed forward with its goal to improve Louisiana’s health care system by placing greater emphasis on primary and preventative care instead of on more costly hospitalization or inpatient care.” 

Hood credited his colleagues at LDH to for the accomplishments that led to his honor. 

"This recognition validates the difficult work that has been undertaken by the staff of DHH," Hood said. "The dedication of our employees to insure more children, to strengthen primary care and to broaden opportunities for our elderly citizens and those with disabilities has now received national attention. I am honored to work with individuals who have demonstrated the ability to make fundamental and positive changes in government."