COLLEGE STATION – Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service family consumer sciences agent in Hopkins County, was recently honored with a Superior Service Award.
The award, presented Jan. 8 during the annual Texas A&M AgriLife conference in College Station, is given to staff who demonstrate outstanding performance or who provide exceptional service to AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System.
The award documentation and letters of support cite Hicks’ “outstanding” work and diligence in several areas of community service for health and nutrition, but her outreach and educational efforts regarding diabetes management and prevention in rural areas has always been “exceptional,” said Susan Ballabina, family and consumer sciences regional program director, Dallas.
“Over many years, I have worked with Ms. Hicks on a variety of projects and signature programs,” Ballabina said. “She always excels at whatever project she undertakes. She is a visionary who is innovative and always willing to figure out how to make things work. If she agrees to do a project, I know it will not only be well done, it will be exceptionally well done.”
“Approximately 9.9 percent of Hopkins County residents over the age of 18 were diagnosed with diabetes in 2008,” said Hicks. “The total cost of diabetes for people in Congressional District 4, of which Hopkins County is part, is estimated at $380,500,000. This estimate includes excess medical costs of $254,400,000 attributed to diabetes, and lost productivity valued at $126,100,000.”
This information came from several sources, according to Hicks, including the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Ballabina said AgriLife Extension has several statewide programs for diabetes control and prevention, including Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes, Walk Across Texas, and a 2005 pilot program, Cooking Well with Diabetes, but Hicks’ work expanding on those programs and fitting them to the needs of Hopkins County has been outstanding.
“She always thinks big picture,” added Dr. Carol Rice, AgriLife Extension health
specialist, College Station. “Over many years, I have worked with Ms. Hicks on a variety of projects and signature programs. She always excels at whatever project she undertakes. She is a visionary who is innovative and always willing to figure out how to make things work.”
Hicks’ first job out of college was with AgriLife Extension in Hopkins County in 1984, she said. Her family relocated to Stephenville, where she taught at Tarleton State University before taking time off for family. They moved back to Hopkins County in 1998.”