Phillips named Jackson County the best employee of the month

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Tanya Phillips, director of public health and planning for Jackson County Public Health, is Jackson County’s Employee of the Month.

Tanya Phillips often works behind the scenes to protect people from everything from liver disease to smokestacks.

He is the health administrator and planner at Jackson County Public Health.

Phillips played a prominent role during the COVID-19 pandemic when she also served as Jackson County Public Health’s public information manager — sending out press releases, appearing on camera, making phone calls and putting together an advertising campaign to raise awareness.

After the COVID-19 vaccine was released, Phillips added regional vaccine manager to his list of duties. He helped organize and run a major vaccination campaign at The Expo that reduced the risk of serious illness and death for thousands of people.

“Tanya’s most impressive work began at the beginning of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic,” Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer said at a recent meeting where she was recognized as a public servant in July.

Dyer said Phillips takes a lot of time off, including Saturdays and evenings, to do his regular job and make sure citizens can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us, and Tanya was able to handle the situation with grace and dignity, representing the district in the best possible way,” Dyer said.

Phillips began working in Jackson County in 2011. He has helped lead problem prevention efforts related to gambling and drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

He created the Jackson County Syringe Waste Reduction Program, which helps prevent the spread of hepatitis, HIV and other blood-borne diseases among people who inject drugs and the general public.

This program takes used needles and provides sterile needles to those with addictions. People can also obtain supplies of opioid drugs and safe sex products, and be referred for drug and alcohol treatment, shelter, medical and mental health services.

Research shows that syringe exchange programs do not increase drug use. It reduces the spread of disease and the number of needles that are inappropriately disposed of in the community. Such programs can be an important means of getting people into substance abuse treatment when they are ready.

Phillips has also helped with efforts to educate and protect people from the effects of smoke during wildfires.

“He is a person who leads by example. I appreciate him, and he’s made a big difference over the last few years and during his time here with the county,” Stacy Brubaker, Jackson County’s Director of Health and Human Services, said of Phillips.

Phillips said he couldn’t do his job without his co-workers.

“I enjoy working in Jackson County and having the opportunity to serve my community,” he said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

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