This column appears in the Nevada Appeal weekly. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
April 6-10 is National Public Health Week.
Carson City Health and Human Services’ employees spend every day working quietly behind the scenes to protect and improve the quality of life for our community through disease prevention, education, and support services. That’s our mission, and we take it seriously. However, many members of the community may not even realize all public health entails, and may not realize the many ways public health serves it on a daily basis.
Too often, public health goes unnoticed until something goes awry and public health lands in the news. Many times, this happens as a result of an outbreak of an infectious disease, like the recent measles outbreak in California or the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
However, preventing infectious disease is just one aspect of the public health system. Each day, dedicated professionals, here in Carson City and around the world, work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our food and water, administer lifesaving vaccines, and deliver programs in diverse fields from nutrition and disaster preparedness to chronic disease prevention and human services. As part of National Public Health Week, Carson City Health and Human Services wants to shed light on the many ways public health touches our lives. Our department has six divisions that work together to meet the needs of our community.
Clinic Services provides quality health care at an affordable price for people in our community, whether or not they have insurance. Our income-based fee schedule guarantees no one is turned away for services. The clinic staff is committed to providing quality health care services and referrals to meet all of our clients’ needs. The clinic offers immunizations, well child visits, and men’s and women’s health services.
Human Services offers a variety of assistance programs to help residents find stability and get back on their feet through programs that cover rental, utility and prescription assistance. Additionally, our human services division houses the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program and the Workforce Development program to help residents with resumes and the job search process.
Public Health Preparedness plans and puts in place programs to respond quickly and effectively to threats endangering the health of the public. Some of these threats are West Nile Virus, pandemic influenza and food-borne illness. Carson City Health and Human Services works with its partners in the community, neighboring counties and the state to assure the most effective response possible to outbreaks of disease and other public health threats and emergencies.
Epidemiology helps us to understand how many people have a disease or disorder, if those numbers are changing, and how it affects our community. Epidemiologists investigate reports of disease outbreaks and, if necessary, interview people who are sick to try and determine how they got sick and also if they may have passed the illness onto others. Knowing how people get sick can help us to make our community a safer place and plan ways to prevent illness in the future.
Environmental Health services are designed to protect and promote the health and welfare of people residing in or visiting our city so they can work, raise families, recreate and grow without the threat of food borne, water borne and or vector borne disease. Environmental Health inspectors focus on food and water safety, swimming pools, hotels and motels and schools and day care facilities.
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is a key part of building a healthy community for the future. Through a variety of programs, including tobacco prevention and cessation, abstinence and teen pregnancy education, HIV and STD prevention, and Safe Routes to School, the Health Department is excited to be laying the groundwork for healthy habits and choices in Carson City for years to come.
Public health is everywhere in our community. This year, we hope you will celebrate National Public Health Week with us. Even though public health may be largely behind the scenes, we are always working to make Carson City a healthy and safe place to live.
For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, or visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CCHHS.