Nonprofits  October 1, 2021

Health district director wins Special District award

FORT COLLINS — Carol Plock, executive director of the Health District of Northern Larimer County, has  been named the winner of the Special District Association of Colorado’s 2021 Manager of the Year Award.  

The Special District Association of Colorado presents this award annually to a special  district manager or fire chief who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, dedication, and service  to his or her district, according to information from the SDA. This year’s awards were presented at the annual awards luncheon that is part of the organization’s annual conference Sept. 14-16.

Plock has served as the executive director of the health district for 27 years. The district under her leadership has grown from two employees to more than 125. It is looked to for health-care services and also information about the state of health care in the community, SDA wrote in its award notification.

The health district provides a range of health services, including dental care, mental health, access to health insurance, and community organization around health issues that no one group can solve alone. 

“When the health district  transitioned from its historic role as a hospital operator to a provider of diverse community health services, Ms. Plock helped ensure the agency would always be responding to current unmet  community needs by engaging in a continual process of outcome improvement. Under her stewardship, the health district has conducted a triennial community health assessment to guide program development, a process that includes discussion sessions with stakeholders and one of the largest ongoing health surveys for a community of its size,” the SDA wrote. “Over the years, health district services have been created, modified, and even eliminated as a result of community health assessment results, program evaluation findings, and ongoing conversations with partners about  changing local needs.”  

Plock has spearheaded a number of successful collaborative grant applications, as well as community partnerships and alliances, the majority of which have resulted in sustainable programming. Since 1999, the work of one such partnership, the Mental Health and Substance Use Alliance of Larimer County, has resulted in members pooling resources and influence to create a range of new services across the community, and in the dedication of millions of dollars to improve access to behavioral health care across Larimer County, according to the SDA. 

During disasters, including floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, the health district has deployed a mobile unit to administer tetanus shots, in the case of flood, or helped with mass vaccination clinics during the pandemic. It also worked with community partners to identify needs and existing resources for people experiencing homelessness, and then assigned health district staff to work with partners to provide isolation, recovery, and quarantine services to those individuals. “Throughout these crises, Ms. Plock was adept in identifying unmet needs where the health district could contribute and creating strong relationships with other community leaders,” the SDA wrote.

“Ms. Plock has boundless faith in the power of cooperative problem solving, both among staff and local stakeholders. She doesn’t easily conclude that something can’t be done, only that a way to do it has not yet been found.”

Ann Terry, SDA’s executive director, said Plock was deserving of the award. “We are pleased for the opportunity to honor her and the extraordinary contributions she has made to her district.” 

Editor’s Note: Carol Plock was honored in BizWest’s Notable Women in Health Care, October 2021. Click here to view honorees.

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