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Emmet County Commissioner named Legislator of the Year by national health association

SEPTEMBER 14 – Emmet County Commissioner Les Atchison has been recognized as the 2012 Legislator of the Year by the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH). His award was given last month during the 20th Annual NALBOH Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. He was honored on September 4 during a Board of Health meeting at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, and again Thursday at the Emmet County Board of Commissioners Meeting.

Atchison has been an Emmet County Commissioner for a decade, and has served on the Health Department of Northwest Michigan's Board of Health for the past five years. Health Officer Linda Yaroch says Atchison's extensive involvement in multi-county boards has given him broad expertise that is indispensable to the Health Department.

“Les is a leader who truly understands public health challenges,” Yaroch said. “Because his involvement has been so diverse, he can work easily with people in all parts of the community, and at all levels of local government. He knows how to speak the language, and earns trust by demonstrating his own commitment to the people we all serve. Working with him is a privilege.” Atchison serves on the boards of the Northern Economic Alliance, Northern Michigan Community Action Agency, Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, Northern County Alliance, Emmet County DPW, Emmet County Housing Coalition, Straits Regional Ride, Committee to Evaluate Ambulance Service and Human Services Coordinating Body of Charlevoix and Emmet Counties.

“This award acknowledges Les's willingness to work across jurisdictions and create better, healthier communities,” Yaroch added. “His interest in evidence-based practices and his Community Guide to Preventive Services will make a lasting impression on the future of local public health.”

NALBOH represents local public health boards and policymakers at the national level, providing guidance, information and resources, and working to strengthen local public health governance. To learn more, visit

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties.

Linda Yaroch, HDNW Health Officer, and Joshua Meyerson, M.D. (right), Medical Director, honor Emmet County Commissioner Les Atchison (center) for his public health advocacy efforts in Northwest Michigan.