National Public Health Week 2022: Celebrating Our Past, Looking to Our Future
If the past two years have shown us anything, it’s that public health is critical to supporting healthy and thriving communities. For this year’s National Public Health Week (April 4-10), we’re recapping our teams’ incredible accomplishments from the past few years and looking ahead to our plans of building a healthier and more equitable Jackson County.
If you’ve ever wondered what exactly a health department does — inside and outside of a pandemic — this is the perfect time to find out.
Our Operations team is the backbone of the health department — they answer calls, order supplies, handle insurance billing, and keep everything running smoothly.
These problem-solvers kept vital records safely open throughout the entire pandemic, including at times when other regional offices were closed. By pivoting to online forms and a walk-up window, they processed over 56,000 birth and death certificates — a big relief for anyone who needed one for school or work during an already challenging time.
Health Promotions does it all — they install and provide free car seats, teach infant CPR classes, help eligible women get free breast and cervical cancer screenings, and more! They run a variety of programs to help everyone in our community enjoy a better quality of life.
More recently, they launched an impactful program called connectHERE. For those in need, getting help can be a time-consuming and difficult process; connectHERE steps in by allowing visitors at Mid-Continent Public Library’s Grandview and Buckner branches to easily find nearby resources, including rent, utility, and food assistance.
Communicable Disease Prevention
Our Communicable Disease Prevention Division’s work came into the spotlight during COVID-19 — this small but mighty team has conducted more than 75,000 case investigations since March 2020.
Case investigation entails contacting people with COVID-19, providing isolation guidance, and calling close contacts to alert them of exposure. They also identify outbreaks and answer questions from the public. Their vital work helps interrupt transmission and slow the spread of disease.
But COVID-19 isn’t all they do: this team also works to investigate reports of other infectious diseases, including Hep A, STIs, the flu, and more. By keeping track of disease spread, they help inform outbreak control and guide illness prevention efforts across EJC.
Health Services & Emergency Preparedness
Last, but not least, are our Health Services and Emergency Preparedness teams! Our hard-working clinical team brings free and low-cost everyday health services to the whole community. From back-to-school immunizations to tuberculosis tests, they meet a variety of needs.
When COVID-19 began, our Health Services and Emergency Preparedness teams stepped up to face a challenge unlike any before. Thanks to their tireless work, EJC residents have received more than 88,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and over 35,000 tests — all for free. On top of that, they worked to keep our normal services open, including childhood immunization clinics, so families wouldn’t face a gap in care during an already difficult time.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about our teams and what they do! As we celebrate our teams’ accomplishments from the past few years, we also want to talk about some of our future goals for supporting a healthy community — including beyond the pandemic:
- Not everyone in our community has equal opportunities to stay healthy; some neighboring ZIP codes have a 15-year difference in life expectancy. We’re working beyond the doctor’s office to address the social, environmental, and economic factors causing gaps like this.
- The more people we can serve, the greater the impact we’ll have. That’s why we’re focusing on expanding our reach and making our services accessible to more people.
- COVID-19 won’t be the last public health crisis we face in our county. By rebuilding and improving our systems, we can better prepare for the next.
- These are complex issues, but we’re not the only ones tackling them! When we support and partner with local organizations, we can do the most good together.
Thank you for joining us this National Public Health Week! We hope you’ll continue to stay connected with us here and on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) as we share our future programs, services, and initiatives. We look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Jackson County so that everyone can enjoy a brighter, healthier future.
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