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DBHDS Press Releases

For Immediate Release: June 30, 2011
[ link to pdf ]

Meghan McGuire, DBHDS                                                                                
(804) 786-9048
Cynthia McClaskey, SWVMHI
(276) 783-1201


Richmond – At a ceremony today at the Governor’s Mansion, Governor Bob McDonnell congratulated Cindy Jones, infection control coordinator at Southwestern Virginia Institute (SWVMHI) in Marion, for being the winner of the 2011 Governor’s Award for Public Service for Workplace Safety and Health. Jones, of Washington County, was nominated by the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) and by SWVMHI Director Cynthia McClaskey.

“On a daily basis, Cindy demonstrates extraordinary innovation in her efforts to educate staff and patients on the small things they can do that will make a big difference controlling and reducing infections at the facility, “said DBHDS Commissioner James Stewart. “I am very pleased to see her many accomplishments in making SWVMHI a safer place recognized in such a manner by the Governor.”

Jones has developed many programs and plans that have proven to be extremely effective to control infection at SWVMHI. In February 2011, Jones’ efforts during a gastroenteritis outbreak in the community significantly reduced patient and staff symptoms while schools and other facilities were closed because of much higher rates of illness. She has also implemented successful programs in areas of high risk in health care facilities such as increasing employee influenza vaccinations, decreasing the chances of MRSA infections among both patients and staff, promoting employee hand washing and minimizing the risk of exposure to contaminated needles. In fact, the Joint Commission recognized Jones’ creativity and effectiveness in developing and implementing such programs by indicating its intent to share her efforts as model programs with other providers.

Jones is the second DBHDS/SWVMHI employee to win a Governor’s Award. Herb Firestone, power plant operator at SWVMHI, won the award for Innovation in 2007 for his work to enhance the efficiency of the operation. The Governor’s Awards statewide program publicly recognizes outstanding employees for their hard work and dedication to the Commonwealth. Agencies nominate employees from among the 102,000 state employees across Virginia and seven winners in separate categories are recognized by the Governor. More information about the awards can be found at


Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with a mental illness, intellectual disability or a substance-use disorder.

1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797
Phone: (804) 786-3921
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