A Barry Eaton District Health Department open house recently invited the public to offer opinions on what the department was doing right, what needed work and what should be in its next five year strategic plan.
Health department officials said the meeting was an informal conclusion of a five year strategic plan, with highlights and examples and a time for the public to give its input and suggestions to the department for the next five.
“It’s a chance to see who we are and what we’re doing,” BEDHD Health Officer Colette Scrimger said.
“We had a good turnout of people and our community partnerships.” Visitors walked around the room at the health department looking at displays about the agency’s programs, talking with staff and putting their suggestions on small slips of paper on a wall on where the department adds value to the community, what the department could do better and what they want to see in the five year strategic plan.
“Our timeline for completing the strategic plan extends into October,” Scrimger said.
“We will be having internal discussions between now and September when a draft plan will be submitted to the Board of Health. The internal discussions will include a review of the input we received at the open houses along with other sources of information like our community health assessments, community health improvement plans, and program performance data, she said.
“The open houses were important to us so that we can gather input from our community on the areas they believe need to be addressed in our community.
“We had a good turnout in both counties and received many responses to our questions of how the health department adds value in the community, what the health department could do better, and what should the health department focus on in the next five years.
“As I have reviewed the comments made by individuals some common themes emerge,” she said.
Respondents said the health department has been a leader in the protection of public health and the promotion of a safe and healthy community and collaborates with many community partners to improve health in the community.
Also, they said the department should expand its relationships in the community to identify new opportunities for improving health, continue to expand its outreach efforts to assure all residents are aware of the services available and build on its expertise and resources to find ways to foster health improvement.
“Several individuals shared with me their surprise at the variety of services we provide and they were unaware of the resources we have available. Others were able to learn about the behind the scenes work we do in the community to protect public health,” Scrimger said.
“This served as a good reminder that we need to continue to seek ways to educate the community about public health and the many ways public health makes a difference in the community,” she said. //
Some of the areas where the joint health department has programs are education, health care coverage, breast and cervical issues, children’s special heath care services, immunizations, dental health clinic in Charlotte, WIC Program, lead screening, Eaton behavioral health, communicable diseases, vision and hearing and environmental health. Each area has several programs inside each heading.
The seven goals in the 2013-2018 Strategic Planning Final
1) assure that all community members have a healthy successful start in life;
2) access to quality health care across the continuum of care;
3) safe and healthy food, water and air.
4) empowering the community and individuals to take an active role in their health;
5) protecting the community from potential health hazards.
6) advocating for community condition that prolong health and support quality of life for all community members and,
7) providing BEDHD management and staff with the appropriate data tools and other resources to protect and enhance health.
In a 2016-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan, priorities identified were chronic disease, mental health, obesity, smoking and tobacco use and opportunities for physical activity and goals and objectives were developed by community organizations, agencies and stakeholders to address the priorities.
A nationally accredited Public Health Department by the Public Health Accreditation Board since 2016, BEDHD’s motto reads: “Our motto is to protect and enhance health by promoting and providing innovative community-based programs and initiatives.”