The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award for the Department of Health Promotion Sciences goes to Neil E. Hann, a 1982 MPH graduate!
Neil earned his Master of Public Health degree in 1982 from the Department of Health Promotion Sciences. He became a lecturer at the Hudson College of Public Health in 1986 and has continued this service to the present. Mr. Hann is currently an active adjunct faculty member, helping with classes, strategic planning, student mentoring, and chair mentoring.
Mr. Hann’s most prominent contribution to public health is his 34 years of service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. During this time he led a number of important initiatives that have improved the face of health in this state. As Assistant Deputy Commissioner, he provided oversight for 68 county health departments and major program areas including WIC, MCH, Sooner Start, Child Guidance, Family Support and Prevention, Record Evaluation, and Dental Health. This effort made him responsible for more than 1300 FTEs and a budget of over $240,000,000.
As Chief of Community Development Service, Mr. Hann was responsible for creating the vision and then directing the activities of a major service area focused on building healthy communities through collaborative partnerships. Community Development Service included large divisions such as Primary Care & Rural Health Development, Health Promotion, Turning Point, Minority Health, Health Equity and Resource Opportunities, and the Office of the Tribal Liaison. Mr. Hann was, in fact responsible for implementing the successful Turning Point initiative in the state with Robert Wood Johnson funding.
In 1992, Neil received the University of Oklahoma’s most prestigious award, the Regents’ Alumni Award. In 2017, the Oklahoma Turning Point Council created the Neil Hann Award to honor individuals who display innovation, inspiration and leadership in creating a culture of health in Oklahoma.
In conducting his “lessor” responsibilities, Mr. Hann has served as acting director for county health departments and director of specific programs. His experience and connections from a career of work at the SHOH provided Mr. Hann with “the right stuff” to do almost any job within the profession of public health administration. In his retirement, we are fortunate to have his attention and our students are fortunate to have his time.