CINCY BLOGS: Rust, Ihrig recognized for service to public health Saturday July 6, 2013 To download a pdf of this article, please click here. Cincy Blogs By: Luann Gibbs Christina Rust and Mark Ihrig were recognized by the Northern Kentucky Health Department with the 2013 Award of Excellence in Public Health. Christina Rust, a maternal child educator with St. Elizabeth Healthcare, has been instrumental in developing a program to immunize family members of infants against pertussis, or whooping cough. The program is an important measure to curb a rising number of cases of whooping cough in Northern Kentucky: Whooping cough causes the most serious complications in infants, who are unable to be immunized themselves. Recent data shows that 75 percent of infants infected with whooping cough were exposed by a family member. Under the program that Rust helped create, more than 3,800 mothers and more than 4,000 family members have received the vaccine, thus protecting those infants they come in contact with. Mark Ihrig, director of Boone County Emergency Management, has long stood by the side of the Health Department as it works to improve its disaster planning and response capabilities. He has continuously encouraged and supported the Health Department with training initiatives, in the development and implementation of disaster exercises and drills, in the review of the Health Department’s own disaster response plans, and in building support for the needs of health professionals within the wider scale of disaster response. The awards are presented each spring to honor those people in Northern Kentucky who have shown progress toward achieving and maintaining a healthier community. Winners are nominated and selected by the Health Department staff for work done in collaboration with the Health Department. The awards were first presented in 2000.