News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Announces South Carolina Winners of National Immunization Awards

Aug. 15, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In celebration of National Immunization Awareness Week, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Immunization Coalition (SCIC) are pleased to announce the 2022 winners of the Association of Immunization Managers’ annual “Immunization Champion” awards for South Carolina.

Winners are selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. The Immunization Champion awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of individuals who go above and beyond in ensuring immunization access in their communities. 

This year’s South Carolina winners are:

2022 Leadership Award and National Immunization Champion
Dr. Youlanda C. Gibbs, EdD 
The Palmetto Palace

2022 Advocacy Award 
Allison Ross Eckard, MD 
Medical University of South Carolina 

2022 Innovation Award 
Beth Sundstrom, PhD, MPH 
College of Charleston 

2022 Partner of the Year Award 
Mary Beattie, RN 
Cherokee County School District 

2022 Community Collaboration Award 
Hanahan Fire and EMS
City of Hanahan Fire Department 

A formal press conference to honor this year’s winners and promote immunization awareness will be held this Friday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m. at MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. Featured speakers include DHEC director Dr. Ed Simmer, MUSC’s Dr. Allison Ross Eckard, Leadership Award winner Dr. Youlanda C. Gibbs and others. 

“These awards recognize the importance of immunizations in our communities and honor the people and groups who are truly making a difference,” said Beth Poore, DHEC’s Immunization Outreach and Health Education Coordinator. “Vaccinations help us live safe, healthy, and happy lives by protecting people of all ages from common and serious diseases.”

For the South Carolina Immunization Coalition (SCIC), these awards provide an opportunity to celebrate partnerships and action-oriented collaborations to protect people of all ages in South Carolina from vaccine-preventable diseases by building confidence in immunization and increasing awareness of vaccine availability at every healthcare visit.

Dr. Mark Scheurer, Chief, MUSC Children’s & Women’s Health, said Dr. Eckard’s recognition is well-deserved.

“MUSC Children’s Health greatly appreciates DHEC recognizing Dr. Eckerd’s immunization contributions during her career, particularly during the past two-and-a-half years of COVID,” Scheurer said. Her dedication and expertise guides our immunization strategies locally and across our health system.”

For winners such as Gibbs, the award is a satisfying recognition of the long hours, hard work, and tireless determination of those who care passionately about the health of their communities.

“At The Palmetto Palace, we deliberately and methodically reached out to rural South Carolina to raise confidence in the vaccine and bring residents out on weekends so they can get this critically important shot,” Gibbs said. “We are grateful to our teammates, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, DHEC, and the community for entrusting us with administering the vaccines. This award is a win for all.”

Media wishing to attend Friday’s 10 a.m. event may RSVP in advance by emailing A reminder advisory will be sent out this Thursday.



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