Photo: Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University Professor of Health Sciences Janet Buelow, Ph.D., was recently honored with the Health Care Hero Award in the Community Outreach category at Georgia Medical Society’s 18th annual Health Care Heroes Awards banquet. The event recognized individuals for their involvement in making health care better in the community.

Buelow was awarded for her leadership and planning efforts for the Department of Defense’s 2018 Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) exercise, Operation Empower Health-Greater Savannah. A vast operation that included coordination with the City of Savannah, Garden City, Savannah State University and the military, the public-private initiative served more than 9,000 individuals with 26,000-plus free primary care services, including dental and vision procedures, and veterinary services for almost 3,000 animals. The event exceeded $4.5 million in cost.

“I’m humbled to receive this award, especially when I consider that I was nominated by a colleague,” said Buelow. “This award reinforces to me that the Waters College of Health Professions values not only serving our community, but also providing opportunities for our students to work and learn together. We worked long hours together, planning and managing this event and I consider the award a testament to my wonderful working colleagues. I’m grateful to all.”

In 2016, Buelow and Sister Mary-Anne Plaskon, a clinical social worker for St. Joseph’s/Candler health system, submitted the proposal to host Operation Empower Health in Savannah. Following a rigorous selection process, Savannah was chosen as the flagship site. Buelow assisted with logistics and served as a member of the planning team for the development of IRT undergraduate and graduate courses. During the nine-day event, Georgia Southern students involved in the courses earned credit and valuable experience assisting patients with registration and providing community referrals for follow-up health care.

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