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Raleigh, N.C. –Action for Children North Carolina announced today that Leah Devlin, DDS, MPH has been elected to serve a two-year term as a member of the Board of Directors.

Leah M. Devlin, DDS, MPH, who until a couple of years ago was North Carolina’s State Health Director, is now a Gillings Visiting Professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. The position is based in the UNC Department of Health Policy and Management.

A native of Buies Creek, N.C., Devlin has championed and improved the health of her fellow North Carolinians for more than 25 years.  As a dental student at UNC, she completed a rotation with the Wake County (N.C.) Health Department, an experience that initiated a lifetime interest in public health. She received a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and a Master of Public Health degree from UNC.

“I am very pleased to be invited to serve on this board which has such a strong commitment to all children! Given the tough economy as well as the demographic and growth trends in North Carolina, children’s success is more critical than ever to our state’s future,” said Dr. Devlin.

Devlin was N.C. State Health Director from 2001 to 2009. Previously, she was deputy state health director and health director for Wake County.  In 2008, she received UNC’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Leah Devlin received her dental degree and masters degree in public health administration at the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus. At UNC she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the School of Public Health’s honor society.

“Dr. Devlin is an amazing woman and expert in public health. Her expertise will be invaluable as Action for Children works to protect health insurance coverage for children in health benefit exchanges. She is invaluable to our team as we work to craft new public policies that will improve the health and well-being of our state’s 2.6 million children and young people,” said Barbara Bradley, Action for Children’s President & CEO.

Among Action for Children North Carolina’s legislative successes are the:

  • Graduated Drivers’ License law;
  • Child Booster Seat law;
  • Bicycle Helmet law;
  • Health Start Program (children’s health insurance);
  • Cell Phone Ban for those driving under the Graduated Drivers’ License law; and
  • Juvenile Expunction law.

These policies are having a measurable impact upon the well-being of children:

  • Motor vehicle deaths of infants and toddlers (birth to age 4) declined 26 percent in the four years after child passenger safety laws were strengthened.
  • Motor vehicle deaths of young children (ages 5 to 9) declined 27 percent in the three years following passage of the law requiring use of booster seats.
  • The risk of motor vehicle accidents has been reduced by banning cell phone use among teenagers currently under the graduated drivers’ license provision.
  • Driver crashes declined 38 percent for 16-year-olds and 20 percent for 17-year-olds in the five years following the passage of the graduated drivers’ license provision.
  • Bicycle deaths for children (under age 15) declined by 60 percent in the five years after the law was passed requiring that children wear bike helmets.

For more information visit www.ncchild.org.

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