COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service presented its Superior Service – Agency Leadership award to Dana Tarter, regional program leader – family and community health and 4-H, Vernon.
The Superior Service awards are the highest award presented by the agency. The recipients were honored Jan. 8 with a noon luncheon.
“Tarter is an innovative, effective and dedicated 31-year professional of AgriLife Extension,” said Dr. Angela Burkham, AgriLife Extension state program leader – family and community health, Amarillo. “From her entry level position as an assistant county agent in Kaufman County to her current position as a regional program leader, Dana has approached every day to be the best professional she can.”
Tarter is a selfless, servant leader who has made vast contributions to society through her commitment to helping others enhance their quality of life, the nomination stated, she noted. Her primary goal is to meet the needs of clientele in addition to those of the agents she serves. She has a priority to develop quality, research-based programs that will effectively address the issues and challenges in family and community health.
“Dana does this not only with an eye for the needs of the user but also the organizational needs of our agency and focusing on the current trends and needs in public health,” Burkham said.
Tarter’s experience as a county director and a regional program leader have developed an understanding of how quality interdisciplinary programs work, the nominations stated.
“Dana was instrumental in developing the new and innovative program, Wellness in the City, which enhanced the way educational programs are delivered to urban audiences. As part of this campaign, outreach to worksites became a new method of reaching large audiences with health and wellness information. This concept has evolved to Worksite Wellness Conferences, which are being held statewide focusing on meeting health needs through worksite education.”
She also helped design and create the Master Wellness Volunteer program; the following numbers illustrate impact The program has trained over 250 volunteers in more than 40 counties over the last 10 years. Annually, Master Wellness Volunteers provide more than 450 hours through 1,400 educational sessions reaching 27,500 people.
There are core health issues identified in a county, yet it may not be staffed with a family and community health agent. This past year, Tarter formulated guidelines and family and community health resources for single agriculture and natural resources agents. This resource has been adopted and used statewide.
She also was the lead author of the Chronic Disease Education and Worksite Wellness program templates. In addition, she designed the protocol for program area category approval of the seven health program plans. She first designed a series of 10 sessions two years ago, and two-thirds of the state has adopted it.
Tarter has been the recipient of the Continued Excellence Award and Distinguished Service Award through the National and Texas Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She is a two-time recipient of the Superior Service Award as a team member. She has also won numerous state and southern region awards for her outstanding programming.
Tarter has continued to expand her knowledge and expertise as she is a doctoral candidate in family studies at Texas Woman’s University with an expected graduation date of May 2019.
She has served as chair of the State Technology Workgroup, hosted the Southern Region Mid Managers meeting, was named team leader for the Agency Strategic Planning Committee and participated on the Better Living for Texans Advisory Board.
She has been involved with the Obesity Prevention Policy Council, Steering Committee for the Tarrant County Public Health, Tarrant County Diabetes Collaboration, United Way and American Heart Association. She has demonstrated her expertise through presentations at Master Wellness Volunteer training, Mayors Council of Fort Worth, State Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Urban Extension Conferences, and the Fort Worth Dietetic Association. She is trained in Mental Health First Aid (youth), Public Health and as an AgriLife Extension Mentor.