Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh, regional medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) Southwest Office of Public Health (OPH Region 5), was recently recognized by the Louisiana National Guard (LANG) with its Distinguished Civilian Service Award for her work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maj. Gen. Keith Waddell, adjutant general of LANG, bestowed the award during a ceremony held at the Southwest OPH regional office in Lake Charles. The medal is reserved for civilians who provide extraordinary service to uphold the well-being of the state of Louisiana. 
“Dr. Cavanaugh and the LDH staff were instrumental in providing guidance and mentorship to the Louisiana National Guard over the last two years,” said Cpt. Thomas Mushenski, who has served with Dr. Cavanaugh since the beginning of the pandemic. “She is a remarkable leader who rendered exceptionally meritorious service in furthering the security and welfare of the state of Louisiana.”
As medical director, Dr. Cavanaugh oversees OPH operations throughout Region 5, which comprises Calcasieu, Beauregard, Allen, Cameron and Jefferson Davis parishes.
Last month, Dr. Cavanaugh and Cpt. Mushenski led an award ceremony in honor of the LANG soldiers who have been vital to LDH’s COVID-19 response. They presented awards to each member in recognition of their service. LANG soldiers worked tirelessly to serve the communities of Southwest Louisiana throughout the entirety of the global COVID pandemic. Without their efforts and expertise, many more lives would undoubtedly have been lost.
LANG’s contributions included operating testing sites, administering vaccines, transporting personal protective equipment and distributing over-the-counter COVID tests. In Region 5 alone, LANG has coordinated more than 700 vaccination events and more than 1,200 testing events.
Dr. Cavanaugh told the troops their service was essential in saving lives and reducing the spread of COVID-19, while Cpt. Mushenski thanked his soldiers for their excellence in carrying out orders.
“Our LANG partners have been an incredible asset throughout this COVID journey — we could not have done it without them. The OPH Region 5 team is forever thankful for all of the support throughout the last two years,” said Dr. Cavanaugh.