Reprinted with the permission of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. Click here to read the original article published June 11, 2019 by Erin Bluvas.
Megan Weis received two prestigious awards from the South Carolina Public Health Association (SCPHA) this spring. The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s senior director for strategic engagement won the James A. Hayne Award and The Voice of Public Health Award.
Created to honor the memory of SCPHA’s first president, the Hayne Award is given to a member in recognition of meritorious achievements in public health over an extended period of time. Weis was chosen for this award for her advocacy of public health and public health education, joining the ranks of UofSC President and former Arnold School Dean Harris Pastides, who received the award in 2003.
“Dr. Weis has been an incredible asset to SCPHA and a true advocate for Public Health and Health Education,” says Gloria McCurry, SCPHA administrative coordinator. “She has truly made a difference in every realm she has touched and takes pride in being a part of something for the greater good.”
The Voice of Public Health Awards honor South Carolinians for their work in the field. Twelve individuals, including Weis and Arnold School alumna Sara Goldsby, (director for the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services), were recognized in the inaugural cohort of recipients. Weis received this award for her efforts to advance public health initiatives in South Carolina over the past 20 years.
“Dr. Weis is leading the charge online, in-person and through substantive policy that tell the story of what’s possible for our state and nation if all voices speak with a shared sense of knowledge, conviction and dedication,” says Medical University of South Carolina associate professor Ragan Dubose-Morris, who nominated Weis for the award. “Her voice deserves to be recognized for all she’s accomplished and will continue to achieve with our collective engagement.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Furman University, Weis spent a year in Malawi with the Peace Corps and became interested in maternal/child health, immunization, AIDS/HIV and community public health projects. Upon returning to the United States, she completed a degree from the Arnold School’s Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) program. She then joined the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as a data manager for the Pregnancy and Risk Assessment Monitoring System and later worked in the agency’s Injury and Violence Prevention division.
While continuing to work full-time, Weis returned to the Arnold School to pursue a Doctor of Public Health in HPEB degree. In addition to teaching and working with students — which she continues to do as an adjunct faculty member at the Arnold School — Weis decided to pursue a doctoral degree so she could help bridge science and practice. She’s done exactly that since she joined the Institute in 2007 and through her many roles on various committees and task forces throughout the state.
For her impactful efforts, Weis has been recognized with several state-level awards. She has won the Health Education Professional of the Year (South Carolina Association for the Advancement of Health Education, 2007), the President’s Award (SCPHA, 2010) and the Lucinda Thomas Award for Outstanding Contributions in Community Health (SCPHA, 2013). In both 2007 and 2017, Weis received SCPHA’s Michael D. Jarrett Excellence in Customer Service Award.