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All about public health

By Ashley Grier

Rowan County Health Department

What is public health?

Public health connects us all. Public health focuses on protecting and improving the health of individuals, families, communities and populations both locally and globally. Public health promotes healthy lifestyles, conducts research, and discovers prevention measures and detects and controls infectious diseases.

Who is public health?

Public health professionals are individuals dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and the environment for everyone. We are proud of what we do and who we serve. We strive daily to continue a tradition of excellence, service, partnership and focus on population health.

Where is public health?

The Rowan County Health Department is your local source for public health services. Our services include:

• Environmental health — Services include inspection of food establishments, public/private schools, motels, child care centers and public swimming pools; Inspection of wells and septic systems; collection of private well water samples; investigation of child lead poisoning cases.

• Care management — Specially trained social workers provide assistance to families with children birth to 5 years old who are at risk for developmental delays, and to women and their families who desire help finding resources and services to meet their needs during pregnancy.

• Family health services — Provides well and sick care for families with Medicaid, Health Choice, insurance, and self-pay clients. Services include physical exams for adults who are established patients, physical exams for children and women’s health services.

• Family planning — Services including exams, birth control, education and counseling are provided to women and men.

• Allied Health and health education — Health educators help individuals and communities adopt a healthy lifestyle through programs and services. Staff conducts community presentations on a variety of health-related topics including chronic disease, wellness, prevention and responsible decision-making. Staff promotes and assists in creating policy and environmental changes that support healthy behaviors, and work with community stakeholders to create and manage sustainable programs geared towards improving health outcomes in target populations.

• Immunizations — Required immunizations are provided to uninsured children birth through the age of 18 at no charge. Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and hepatitis B are provided to adults but there may be a charge. Tetanus boosters are provided at no charge. Flu vaccines are provided in the fall.

• Prenatal services — Prenatal care is provided to low-income residents of Rowan County by health department staff and local obstetricians on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

• Smile center — Two dentists and dental health staff provide dental care in a clinic setting to children through 18 years of age.

• Women, Infants & Children (WIC) — A nutritional program for women, infants and children that provides nutritional information and vouchers for healthy foods. Applicants must be seen by WIC staff to determine eligibility by appointment only.

To celebrate and promote our services with the citizens of Rowan, we are holding our first annual Health Fair Extravaganza! The event will be held at the Rowan County Health Department located at 1811 E Innes St. Salisbury, on Wednesday July 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The health fair will consist of several booths showcasing the health department’s services offering information on a variety of health topics.

Items that will be offered: Adult and children dental screenings; blood pressure and BMI checks; ambulance and fire truck tours; summer sun safety; kid zone with games and face painting; door prizes.

Food and so much more!

Everyone is welcome! Please come out and help us celebrate public health and learn about the services available in your community! If you have any questions, please call 704-216-8777.

Grier is office supervisor for the Rowan County Health Department.

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