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      A Woman of Achievement in healthcare

      This week, KHQA is featuring the Women of Achievement award winners for the Young Women's Christian Association.

      The YWCA received many nominations from area residents, but only five will take home the award on April 21. We sat down with a Quincy woman whose work in the public health field landed her in the top five.

      "The nominations for the YWCA Women of Achievement awards are done somewhat in secrecy. They don't tell you that they nominate you," Nancy Bluhm said, trying to hide a laugh.

      Little did Bluhm know that her colleagues Earl Bricker from the United Way and Ann Reich, a board member at the health department, had nominated her for an award. Bluhm has worked as the Public Health Administrator at the Adams County Health Department for 17 years. It's the foundation for which she is being recognized as a "Woman Moving Healthcare Forward."

      "We are at our best when we are partnering with other community health organizations in our community," Bluhm said.

      Bluhm has proven that every day during her 26 years at the health department. She's been known to work with healthcare services across the region, from Voices of Children, to Blessing Hospital as well as Quincy Medical Group and the Adams County Domestic Violence Coalition.

      Her main philosophy is prevention.

      "I believe if we could work on stopping disease from spreading, or stopping injury from happening, or stopping kids from smoking and making sure the pregnancy outcomes are as good as they can be, I believe that's where we'd make progress in the health of our community," Bluhm said.

      Bluhm has helped restructure an overall community health assessment with the "the Alliance for a building community" with Blessing Hospital, United Way and the health department. She is also part of a think group in Springfield coming up with viable solutions for the state's closure of mental health facilities as well as the budget process when it comes to public health.

      This YWCA award represents Bluhm's continued core vision for public health.

      "Certainly, I'm very gratified by it. In public health we don't get a lot of coverage when we accomplish something, because when we accomplish something, disease doesn't happen and injury doesn't happen. So it's nice to attract attention to work that is done day in and day out," Bluhm said.