Health Department will celebrate its centennial
By Tykeisha Carter
Rowan County Health Department
The Rowan County Health Department will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.
The Rowan County Board of Health gave the Health Department its official start on Jan. 1, 1918. Originally located in a few small rooms on the second floor of the county courthouse, the department began its work of improving the health for the people of Rowan County.
Beginning in 1919, Dr. Charles Armstrong was the department’s health officer for 42 years, the longest tenure in that job. Armstrong wrote in a September 1921 Salisbury Evening Post article that his “aim and purpose is to make the Rowan County Health Department of the most real service possible to the most people possible.”
During his first years, he focused on combatting contagious diseases like smallpox, typhoid, whooping cough and others through vaccination clinics and education on the transmission of disease. The two public health nurses who worked at the Health Department often visited tuberculosis patients and offered instruction on prevention.
A public health dentist provided care for schoolchildren who would otherwise not receive care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines public health as the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. Over the last few decades, Rowan public health projects have included reporting and quarantining contagious diseases, vaccination clinics, low-cost medical care, family planning, oral health care and many other programs.
The Health Department is currently under the direction of Nina Oliver. The department’s mission is to provide and encourage the provision of quality public health programs that protect and promote health, prevent and control disease, reduce and rehabilitate disability, as well as establish and maintain healthful lifestyles in a safe environment.
To accomplish this mission, the department offers adult health, child health, family planning, care management, health education, dentistry for children, prenatal services, environmental health services and WIC. The department has grown over the last century and improved the health of the community.
The Health Department plans to celebrate throughout the upcoming year and share the milestone with the community that its have served since 1918. There will opportunities to learn more about the history of public health in Rowan County and the community partners that have helped the Health Department get where it is today. Further information will be available in the upcoming months.
The Rowan County Health Department is at 1811 E. Innes St. in Salisbury. For questions or to make an appointment, call 704-216-8777 Monday-Thursday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Late clinic is offered every second and fourth Tuesday or every month.
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