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Rutherford County’s Assistant Public Health Director received three prestigious honors in August and September consecutively.

Photo of LaShan Dixon

LaShan Dixon was recognized in August with Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) “Young Alumni Achievement Award,” an award “given to a graduate age 35 or younger making a positive impact in the world.”

The university stated that LaShan, who has a total of four degrees from MTSU, helps improve the “quality of life in the community” through her outreach as an administrator for Rutherford County Health Department (RCHD).

Dixon was awarded the Tennessee Public Health Association’s “Tennessee Public Health Worker of the Year” on September 10, 2020, an award recognizing her outstanding service to the field.

On September 16, at the Rutherford ATHENA International Leadership Awards held at Embassy Suites, Dixon was announced as recipient of the “2020 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award,” which is presented to a woman under the age of 40 for her emerging leadership, accomplishments and contributions in Rutherford County.

Dixon received the recognition for developing and implementing the first Community Baby Shower with RCHD in partnership with United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, a now-annual event that helps to provide more than 2,100 essential baby supplies to expectant mothers in the community. Also noted by the organization was her vital role as spokesperson for “Beauty Behind Bars,” a self-esteem program created to “help women and girls break away from mental incarceration and self-imprisonment of low self-esteem, doubt, depression, suicide, and dream killing.” Through the program, at least 1,200 girls and women have been positively impacted. Dixon “meets them where they are” to teach them about “forgiveness, accountability, and the importance of loving self from the inside out.”

“We could not be more proud of LaShan,” said Rutherford County Public Health Director Dana Garrett. “She never ceases to amaze us with the impact she provides to our local community in a variety of ways.”

“I am always delighted to hear of a Rutherford County employee that exemplifies professionalism both at work and in the community,” said Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron. “We are fortunate to have LaShan as a part of our team.”

Dixon Bio

During her time as a student to present day, LaShan Dixon has continued to make outstanding contributions in public health within the community. An alumna of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Mrs. LaShan Dixon earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, Graduate Certificate in Health Care Management, Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, and Master’s degree in Health and Human Performance.

Upon leaving MTSU, she accepted a position with the Rutherford County Health Department and advanced quickly to become the first Assistant Public Health County Director, where she plans and instructs health education programs for the community reaching over 80,000 residents throughout Rutherford County annually. Additionally, for more than fifteen years, she has hosted multiple community events and contributed to several grants that focus on women and underserved populations. Moreover, working in public health for the past twelve years has instilled in her a respect for diversity along with a burning desire to be an advocate for underrepresented populations in the community.

Subsequently, LaShan’s tenure as a student at MTSU and work experience have afforded her a number of opportunities to learn and contribute to public health. From 2014 to 2018, LaShan served as an Adjunct Professor in the College of Health and Human Performance. Excitedly, this presented the occasion to inspire future generations to see health as the integration of the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained during their time at MTSU. Challenging students to use integrative thinking and reflection across multiple contexts and educational experiences, LaShan took on the opportunity to become a MT Engage instructor. To enhance student’s engagement, new techniques were necessary; thus, she incorporated high impact pedagogies within the course and through beyond-the-classroom involvement.

Furthermore, her passion to help protect and enlighten undergraduate students still runs strong. In fact, LaShan has recently taken measures to partner with MTSU to help educate and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amongst this population. For instance, her idea to provide “5,000 Care Packages” to students as they return to campus was highlighted at the July 2020 White House Round Table discussion with President Trump by MTSU President McPhee as an innovative idea that will contribute to the success and overall health of students on campus. Moreover, with the support of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and MTSU, LaShan will be providing care packages filled with essential items including: hand sanitizers, mask, antibacterial wipes, and a return to campus playbook that will provide prevention tips to guests and visitors regarding COVID-19 to 5,000 students on the first day of class.

So, as you can see, LaShan has consistently embodied leadership and service. In addition to this, she has been a member of the Tennessee Public Health Association for eight years, where she has served as Resolutions Committee Chair and Health Education Section Chair. In 2015, she had the honor to present at the Annual TPHA meeting about the S.M.A.R.T. Moms Program, an award-winning prenatal tobacco cessation program and has lead fun, interactive activity breaks in 2017 and 2018 prior to the Commissioners Address. As someone committed to protecting, promoting, and improving the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee, LaShan Dixon is driven to be a valuable contributor to the progress and success of public health and the community.