Carson supervisors to get an education about public health |

Carson supervisors to get an education about public health

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Though news reports were plentiful about how E-coli-tainted spinach sickened people across the country and even killed one woman, Carson City’s Health and Human Services Department received calls from nervous residents about the local spinach situation.

When the media cover health and emergency situations, the reports often “highlight what we do in public health,” said Daren Winkelman, director of the department. “We try to protect people.”

It’s been nearly three years since the Carson City Board of Health was formed, and how the city’s public health offerings are shaping up – and how the services can benefit all residents – will be highlighted during today’s Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting.

While the presentation today is being given to the supervisors, “we want to help residents understand what we do,” Winkelman said. “It’s called public health 101.”

The supervisors, sheriff and a health officer, who is a physician, comprise the board.

Without it, “we’d be way behind the times,” he said.

Having a board of health allows the city to obtain state, federal and private funds for programs that can be tailored to local needs, he emphasized.

The city depended on the state for disease-prevention activities for years. While it helped somewhat, Carson’s population is unique because of its growing number of seniors, native Spanish-language speakers and visitors.

The concept of public health is to proactively work toward making people healthier, protecting them against disease, Winkelman said. Education is a big part of this effort.

“We really want to let people know what public health is all about,” he said. “It’s not just publicly funded health care. We try to explain that it’s a network that focuses on prevention.”

Health clinic services are only part of what the department now offers. The city will offer free flu shots from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Carson City Senior Center, 911 Beverly Drive, for example.

Immunization services, emergency preparedness and epidemiological disease investigations add to the effectiveness of the department’s other services, such as restaurant inspections, he said.

Also on the agenda is a bid proposal for much of the work on the Health Services Building the clinic and health services eventually will call home.

Remodeling of the first floor at 900 E. Long St. is expected to cost about $282,000.

Workers could be in the new headquarters early next year, Winkelman added.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.