(Lexington, KY) – The University of Kentucky School of Public Health Hall of Fame has posthumously honored Dr. Millard A. Shepherd, MD, with the Hume Medallion Award.
Dr. Shepherd dreamed of creating a health district or region in Kentucky and he was instrumental in the creation of the Lake Cumberland District Health Department (LCDHD). He also served as its first Director from its creation on July 1, 1971, until his retirement in 1980.
LCDHD was the first District Health Department in the state of Kentucky. It initially included Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Pulaski, and Wayne Counties. In 1982, Adair, Casey, Green, Russell, and Taylor Counties joined the district bringing the total member counties to 10.
During his tenure at LCDHD, Dr. Shepherd initiated the practice of fluoridating drinking water in the district, reducing the risk of dental disease and decay. He was proactive in getting vaccinations in public schools and vaccinated his own children for polio and smallpox as public examples for the benefit of vaccinations.
“Lake Cumberland District Health Department has always been innovative and ground breaking in the public health circles of Kentucky,” said Executive Director Amy Tomlinson. “It is humbling to know that we are continuing to carry on the legacy of this visionary man, Dr. M A Shepherd. The health and well-being of the citizens of Lake Cumberland are always at the front of our minds and the center of every decision we make.”
Dr. Shepherd earned his medical degree at the University of Louisville. He completed Boards in Preventive Medicine and Public Health Administration and worked for the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
He published hundreds of health columns in the Commonwealth Journal and in the Harlan Daily Enterprise. He was a life member of many organizations including the AMA, KMA, Pulaski County Medical Society, the Kentucky Sportsman League, and the American Legion. In 1981, he received the Russell E Teague Meritorious Award from the Kentucky Public Health Association.
The Hume Medallion Award is the UK College of Public Health’s highest award. It is granted to outstanding public health practitioners or organizations. Criteria include exceptional service to the nation, Commonwealth of Kentucky, University of Kentucky, or College of Public Health. The recipient of this award does not have to be a UK alumnus.
Dr. Emily Blevins, DMD (Center), granddaughter of the late Dr. Shepherd, accepted the Hume Medallion Award on his behalf. She is pictured with current and former staff members of the Lake Cumberland District Health Department.