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The National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) honors, celebrates and recognizes the excellence, dedication, and service of our professionals whose steadfast efforts advance and improve vital records, vital statistics, and public health information. The NAPHSIS Awards recognize exceptional individuals and teams that have made a difference in the field of vital records/health statistics and to NAPHSIS membership.  

Nomination Process

Anyone may submit a nomination. During the nomination period (usually annually) an individual may complete the online form and provide supporting documentation.  Nominees for all awards, except Partner of the Year and the Halbert H. Dunn Achievement award must be professionals of an organization or jurisdiction that is a member of NAPHSIS.  

When submitting a nomination, review the criteria and select the most appropriate award. Provide sufficient detail. If appropriate, you may provide examples of work and activities that support the nomination. The NAPHSIS Awards Committee will review the information you submit to evaluate and rate nominations. The committee may follow up to gather additional information. 


NAPHSIS will communicate awards to membership and recognize recipients at a meeting, event, or through virtual means.  


Self-nominations are accepted. The Awards Selection Committee reserves the right to select the final award category and not to give an award in any category if a candidate of sufficient merit is not nominated.  

Submit A 2023 Nomination Now

Award Categories and Descriptions

Early Career Professional Award (Rising Star)


The Early Career Professional Award recognizes individuals who show great potential for positively impacting the world of vital records/health statistics in the areas of administration, data management and statistics and/or technology. The awardee’s work demonstrates significant contributions to the field and serves as an inspiration to other vital records professionals. To be eligible, the nominee must have worked in the field of vital records/health statistics for fewer than five years. Career accomplishment, evidence of a strong, positive trajectory of career development, and promise of leadership strength are important considerations for the selection of the awardee. 


Nominees must have been in vital records/health statistics for fewer than 5 years and demonstrate: 

  • Active participation in local, state, regional and/or national vital records/health statistics activities 

  • Outstanding and/or innovative solution(s) to improve vital record/health statistics functions in one of the following categories: administration, registration, issuance, data collection, data transmission and reporting, data quality, health statistics, security, technology or workforce development. 

Past Recipients of the Early Career Professional Award (Rising Star)


Jonathan Downs | Washington



Terra Abrams  |  District of Columbia

Outstanding Leadership Award (Shining Star)


The Outstanding Leadership Award recognizes individuals that demonstrate leadership in the vital records and health statistics arena. A firm commitment and unyielding drive is needed to take the required steps to protect the records we are responsible for and to improve how we administer the programs and disseminate the data collected. This awards category is to recognize leaders who have made significant contributions to the field who are out front making impactful decisions for the betterment of the profession, the data and their jurisdiction.   


Nominees must demonstrate: 

  • Active participation in local, state, regional, tribal, and/or national vital records/health statistics activities 

  • Unyielding drive and success in improving vital records/health statistics functions, which can include the provision of resources 

  • Improvements made in one of the following categories: administration, registration, issuance, data collection, data transmission and reporting, data quality, health statistics, security, technology or workforce development. 


Past Recipients of the Outstanding Leadership Award (Shining Star)


Vanessa Lefler | Tennessee

Greg Crawford | Kansas


Mary Huynh |  New York City

Excellence Award: Individual and/or Team (Comet/Constellation)


The Excellence in Vital Statistics Award recognizes significant contributions of an individual or a team in vital records/health statistics. This may include, but is not limited to, innovations and improvements in the areas of customer service, registration, training, data management and statistics, data quality, field services, or technology. This award is intended for talented staff who work on the front-line and behind the scenes day-to-day to make things happen.  


Nominee(s) must demonstrate: 

  • An innovative or quality improvement solution to a problem 

  • Results that support NAPHSIS goals and advance its mission. 

Past Recipients of the Individual Excellence Award (Comet Award)


Ren Marshall | Idaho



Devon Priddle  |  Ohio

Past Recipients of the Team Excellence Award (Constellation Award)


Field Services Team | Virginia

“Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork” COVID19 Death Certification Collaboration | Minnesota



  • 2018-2019 NAPHSIS Registration Committee 

  • Multi-Jurisdictional Delayed Birth Registration Project – Joint Award to the Vital Records Offices of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah

Partner of the Year


This award recognizes an exceptional non-jurisdictional individual or team that works in collaboration with NAPHSIS members, the NAPHSIS Board of Directors, and NAPHSIS staff to accomplish NAPHSIS goals and advance its mission. The award may recognize efforts and contributions over a long period as well as those that have produced quick results and positive outcomes. The recipient could be a member of the NAPHSIS vendor community, a sponsor, a member of a partner organization (NCHS, AAMVA, etc.), or another agency. 


The nominee must have established, maintained, or strengthened an exceptional partnership relationship with NAPHSIS in the last year. Together with NAPHSIS members, Board of Directors, or staff, the partner must have helped achieve goals important to NAPHSIS while advancing the NAPHSIS mission. Data and measures must be available to show how the partnership produced results. 


The individual nominee or team must demonstrate: 

  • An exceptional partnership with NAPHSIS in the last year 

  • Achievement (or progress toward achievement) of NAPHSIS goals 

  • Contributions that advanced the NAPHSIS mission 

Past Recipients of the NAPHSIS Partner of the Year


Elena (Bakker) Pierre-Louis  |  QuantumMark


Prachi Mehta and Kelly Brown | CDC/NCHS/NVSS

Halbert L. Dunn Award


The Halbert L. Dunn Award recognizes only those accomplished professionals who have demonstrated consistent commitment and outstanding contributions to the field of vital records and health statistics. Individuals eligible for the award must have demonstrated leadership and meet specific criteria.  


Halbert L. Dunn, M.D. (1896-1975) was the leading figure in establishing a national vital statistics system in the United States. He attended the University of Minnesota where he earned his M.D. in 1922 and his Ph.D. in 1923. He served as an assistant in medicine at the Presbyterian Hospital of New York City from 1923-1924, and as a fellow in medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, from 1924-1925. 

He was chief of the National Office of Vital Statistics from 1935-1960, first located within the U.S. Census Bureau and later within the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, finally becoming the National Center for Health Statistics in 1960. 

Dunn was one of the founders of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) and of the Inter-American Statistics Institute (IASI). He was secretary-general of the IASI from 1941 to 1952. NAPHSIS established the Halbert L. Dunn Award in his honor in 1981 to recognize outstanding and lasting contributions to the field of vital and health statistics. 


Nominations may be submitted for outstanding vital records and health statistics professionals who have contributed to administration, education, technical service, and to all functions and specialties of vital and health statistics.  

The nominee must demonstrate: 

  • Significant contributions to the field of vital records/health statistics (e.g. presentations, testimonies, published or written articles/reports, participation on committees/projects/programs); 

  • Exemplary leadership at the local, state, territorial, national, or tribal level in vital records registration or health statistics initiatives or activities;  

  • Commitment to developing others through; consultation, assistance, and support to other vital records/health statistics professionals or programs to further their abilities and capabilities in the conduct of their programs; 

  • Active participation in NAPHSIS workgroups, committees, and projects as well as participation in other related professional organizations and activities. 

  • Contributions to the formulation of laws, policy, process or procedures related to the operation/administration of vital records/health statistics programs. 

Past Recipients of the Halbert L. Dunn Award
Jeff Duncan | Michigan
Delton Atkinson  |  North Carolina & NCHS & NAPHSIS

Glenn Copeland  |  Michigan

Jennifer Woodward  |  Oregon

Rose Trasatti Heim  |  NAPHSIS

Isabelle Horon  |  Maryland

Bruce Cohen  |  NCHS & Massachusetts

Stephanie Ventura  |  NCHS

Charles Rothwell  |  North Carolina & NCHS

Steven Schwartz  |  New York City

Marshall Evans  |  NCHS

Alvin Onaka  |  Hawaii

Harry Rosenberg  |  NCHS

Dan Friedman  |  Massachusetts

Joe Carney  |  West Virginia, Oregon & Colorado

Mary Anne Freedman  |  Vermont & NCHS

Lorne Phillips  |  Kansas

Dorothy Harshbarger  |  Alabama

George Gay  |  NCHS

Iwao Moriyama  |  IIVRS

Ray Nashold  |  Wisconsin

Jack Smith  |  CDC

George Van Amburg  |  Michigan

Garland Land  |  Missouri

Patricia Potrzebowski  |  Pennsylvania

John Patterson  |  NCHS

Margaret Watts  |  North Dakota

John Brockert  |  Utah

Margaret Shackelford  |  Oklahoma

W. D. “Don” Carroll  |  Texas

Irvin Franzen  |  Kansas

Carl Erhardt  |  New York City

Vito Logrillo  |  New York State

Loren Chancellor  |  Iowa & NCHS

Deane Huxtable  |  Virginia

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