Dr. John Gardner Johnston, Teen Health Connection's founding Medical Director and Charlotte pediatrician, is known for his efforts to empower every adolescent to be healthy, safe and successful. Throughout his career, Dr. Johnston has dedicated his time to improving the lives of his patients and to community child advocacy. After more than 15 years of working for a successful private pediatric practice, Dr. Johnston saw an opportunity when the Mecklenburg Medical Alliance led the development of a teen clinic and he thus became the first Medical Director of Teen Health Connection. Dedicating himself to the community's most challenged teens, he helped create a nationally recognized, free-standing, family-centered teen health clinic with innovative educational initiatives. In recognition of his accomplishments, Dr. Johnston won the 2005 North Carolina Pediatric Society Dr. David Tayloe Award for service to pediatrics and the community. This award is the highest award given by the North Carolina chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Johnston has also won the 2005 Glaxo-SmithKline Child Health Recognition Lifetime Achievement Award Special Recognition, which acknowledges his outstanding contribution to improving children's health services. Loved by patients and staff, admired and respected by peers, Dr. Johnston knew what it meant to be a physician who took joy in offering his best effort no matter the patient's problems, background or financial means.
Barbara R. Ziegler has demonstrated outstanding commitment and capability in her efforts to improve adolescent health. Initially as a member of the planning committee and then as Executive Director, she led a grassroots effort to open Teen Health Connection, which is now a thriving model of comprehensive healthcare delivery to adolescents. In order to garner the support necessary for Teen Health Connection's success, she worked extensively with local and state agencies, organizations, foundations and medical providers, including two hospitals not accustomed to working together. Barbara advocated for adolescents through position statements and communications with local, state and national politicians, and by serving on numerous local and state committees and boards. She was a founder and former Executive Director of the Mecklenburg Council on Adolescent Pregnancy from 1981-1991. In addition, she was a founder of the North Carolina Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy and board member from 1984-1989. She has won awards, including the June Stallings Award in 1989, in recognition of her long-term creative efforts on behalf of adolescent pregnancy prevention in North Carolina. She also was awarded the Leadership Charlotte Unsung Hero Award in 1995 for dedication and service to the community. For decades, Barbara used her great knowledge, contacts and energy to make good things happen for adolescents.
The Johnston Ziegler Youth Leadership Award is a merit-based scholarship that recognizes a local teen who, like Dr. Johnston and Barbara Ziegler, has demonstrated outstanding leadership, advocacy, or service for adolescents. The selected youth will receive a $1,000 educational scholarship to the college or university of his or her choice. The recipient of the Johnston Ziegler Award will also appear in a video that will be shown at Teen Health Connection events and on the Teen Health Connection website.
The 2013 Johnston Ziegler Youth Leadership Award recipient is Sanjana Vattigunta, a senior from Ardrey Kell High School.