Athena award recognizes Mahoning County health commissioner

You could call Patricia Sweeney's work at the district board of health trail blazing.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Mahoning County Heath Commissioner Patricia Sweeney is more than just a health care professional. You could call her work at the district health department trail blazing.

Being the first female to serve as health commissioner, Sweeney has increased her staff from 48 to 69, grown minority representation on her staff by 18 percent and has also grown her budget from $4.5 million to $7.4 million without additional local tax support. This and many other reasons is why she is the 2017 Athena award recipient.

The Athena  award is given annually to recognize area business and professional women who have demonstrated excellence in their career and are leaders in their community.

After working for many years as a staff nurse, Sweeney took the helm of the Mahoning County District Board of Health in 2012. She convened a team of more than 30 organizations to conduct a community health assessment and developed an improvement plan, targeting infant mortality, drug abuse, women’s and children’s nutritional needs and more.

Prior to joining the District Board of Health, Sweeney taught public health law and ethics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Heath and also served as the associate director for Law and Policy at its Center for Public Health Practices. She is currently a member of the graduate faculty at Northeast Ohio Medical University.