Andrews will chair health board

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
Three men were sworn in as new members of the Rowan County Board of Health Monday night.
Clerk of Court Jeff Barger administered the oath of office to Steve Fuller, Dan Mickkelson and Dr. Billy Webb. Fuller replaced his brother, Mike Fuller, as the pharmacist representative on the board; Mickkelson replaced Chairman David Roberts as the engineer representative; and Webb replaced Dr. Steve Yang as the dentist representative.
Other board members include Dr. Robert Tannehill as the physician representative; Dr. Phillip Roel as the optometrist representative; Dr. Luther Lyerly as the veterinarian representative; Susan Thomas as the nurse representative; Chad Mitchell as the Rowan County Board of Commissioners representative; and Barbara Andrews, Elia Gegorek and Rick Parker as the three members from the general public.
The first item of business for the new board members was to help elect a chairman and vice chairman for 2009. Andrews, who served as vice chairwoman last year, was elected chairwoman, and Parker was elected vice chairman.
In her first official duty as board chairwoman, Andrews asked Health Department Director Leonard Wood to introduce staff members at the meeting. “I think they have to be the greatest staff in North Carolina as health departments go because they are so dedicated,” she said.
Also at the meeting, Wood announced that representatives of the Rowan County and Salisbury City Animal Control departments are planning to meet to discuss consolidating services. This is something the two departments began talking about a year or so ago.
“So far it’s been, ‘Do we want to do it?’ and ‘Is this something we want to do?’ ” he said, “and the answer is ‘yes.’ ”
Wood said he didn’t know where the discussions between county and city Animal Control officials would end up. “There are concerns on our part,” he said, “and there are concerns on their part. Right now, we feel real good about it. Next week, we may have another tune, I don’t know.”
The Rowan County Animal Control, headed up by Clai Martin, is part of the Health Department, while the Salisbury City Animal Control is part of the Police Department.
Dr. Jim Cowan, Healthy Rowan! coordinator and Allied Health Services director for the health department, had good news for the board. The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund has awarded a $300,000 Teen Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Initiative grant ó to be distributed over three years at the rate of $100,000 a year ó to the Health Department for its teen tobacco prevention groups.
During the 2007-2008 school year, the 12 groups delivered Teens Against Tobacco Use education to more than 2,750 Rowan County middle and high school students.
Board members also voted to apply for a grant from the Susan B. Komen Foundation to fund screening procedures not covered by the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. The use of computer-aided detection of breast lesions in conjunction with mammography is an example of a procedure not covered by the state-mandated program.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.