The Partnership for Public Service has announced its nominees for the 2018 Service to America Medals, known as the “Sammies.” CDC has three finalists for these prestigious public health awards that recognize the talents and achievements of federal employees. The CDC finalists are Drs. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp (developmental disabilities), Margaret (Peggy) Honein (Zika), and John Sammarco (mine safety).

“These three scientists have dedicated their careers to protecting the health, safety and security of the American public,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “They exemplify the highest attributes of public service, and CDC is stronger because of their scientific excellence and innovation.”

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, M.D., is an epidemiologist and a pediatrician and Associate Director for Children with Special Heath Care Needs at CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp is a public health leader and champion for children with special health care needs. Fifteen years ago, she began the development of what is now the “gold standard” approach for surveillance of these conditions. Today, the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM) helps to monitor the prevalence of developmental disabilities in U.S. children. In her current role at CDC, Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp works on issues ranging from cerebral palsy to Zika virus. Dr. Yeargin-Allsopp is a finalist in the career achievement category.

Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH is an epidemiologist and the Director for the Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders (DCDD) in CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Honein joined CDC as an EIS officer in 1997 and was credentialed as a Distinguished Consultant/Senior Scientist at the CDC in 2010. Before becoming Division Director, Dr. Honein most recently served as co-lead for the Pregnancy and Birth Defects Task Force in CDC’S Emergency Zika Response. In this role, she oversaw work to better understand the impact of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. Dr. Honein is a finalist in the science and environment category.

John Sammarco, PhD, is a principal research engineer at CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Sammarco’s research, methods, and interventions have revolutionized mine illumination to improve the health, safety and well-being of the nation’s 340,000 miners. Mine illumination is critical for the safety of workers who depend heavily on visual cues to detect hazards in their environment. Dr. Sammarco’s research and innovations have directly influenced mining certification and regulatory procedures and contributed to the health and safety of U.S. miners. Dr. Sammarco is a finalist in the career achievement category.

The Sammies were named for Samuel J. Heyman, founder of the Partnership for Public Service. This year there are 27 finalists for the Sammies. The winners will be announced during the annual gala on Oct. 2nd.