PRSA Memphis Presents 2020 Communicator of the Year & Student Communicator of the Year

    The Memphis Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has selected Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN., Director of the Shelby County Health Department, as its Communicator of the Year for 2020.

    The 2020 Communicator of the Year Award reflects Dr. Haushalter’s unflappable courage in leading the community throughout the pandemic, always with eye toward what is best for the residents of Shelby County, even when her message has met criticism at times. She has led regular media briefings exhibiting communications skills that are honest, direct, understandable, and always focused on protecting the community and moving it safely through the pandemic.

    This year for the first time, PRSA also has chosen a Student Communicator of the year for 2020. Jordan Dodson, a Music Business major at the University of Memphis, and a singer, artist and activist, will receive the award. Dodson organized multiple marches in Memphis in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and has shown outstanding dedication to spreading the message of inclusivity.

    The awards will be presented Friday, Jan. 29, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., via Zoom.

    “The last year has brought on many unforeseen challenges and adversities. We applaud Dr. Haushalter for her leadership, resilience, and commitment to the well-being of the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County during these unprecedented times,” said Milton Howery III, President of PRSA Memphis. “We also celebrate the courage and leadership of Jordan Dodson, a student who has done an outstanding job bringing awareness to the many issues that affect the people in our city. PRSA Memphis Chapter is honored to award them both for their work and dedication to our community.”

    Dr. Haushalter earned her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Belmont University in Nashville, a master’s degree in Nursing with a specialty in Family Practice from Vanderbilt University, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She also serves as an associate professor in the UTHSC College of Nursing.

    As a student, Dodson “is working to make Memphis just, equitable, accessible and beautiful,” according to their nominator. In addition to leadership in the BLM movement, Jordan was among those who started PPE4BIPOC in Memphis. This group has distributed free PPE to Black and indigenous people of color in Memphis during the pandemic.

    This will be the 44th year that PRSA Memphis has selected its Communicator of the Year. The award is given to a member of the community who exhibits the ability to communicate effectively to general or specific publics, has visibility, and is a respected member of the community who invests their time and talent conveying a specific message. The recipient is not necessarily a public relations practitioner.

    The nominations are open to the entire PRSA membership, considered by an awards committee, and finally voted on by the PRSA board. The vote considers the difficulty encountered to achieve a goal, as well as the number of people who benefited from the effort. The award was established in 1976 with Bud Dudley, founder of the Liberty Bowl, its first recipient. The list of honorees includes Ron Terry, Cecil Humphreys, Allie Prescott, Linn Sitler, D'Army Bailey, Mayor W.W. Herenton, John Calipari, Dr. Scott Morris, Fred Jones, Beverly Robertson, Molly Meisenheimer, Otis Sanford, and last year, Penny Hardaway.

    The Memphis Chapter of PRSA is an organization of about 175 public relations professionals representing hospitals, non-profit agencies, large corporations, small

    private companies, consulting firms, educational institutions, marketing firms and freelancers across the region. The chapter was founded in 1952. Today, the members meet (currently via Zoom) throughout the year for programs, professional development seminars, awards programs and social events.

    PRSA welcomes its membership, supporters of the awards recipients, and the media to this event. For more information or to register and access the Zoom link to the event, please go to

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