The idea that health is more than just health care isn’t a new one, but few people realize just how many services their local county health department offers them. In fact, there are so many things we do, it’s hard to fit it all in one article. After all, our mission is to “work together to achieve the highest level of health and well-being for everyone.”
Here are just a few examples of the work we do for the people who live, work and play in our county:
Vital Services Division:
- We provide birth certificates and death certificates.
- We keep the public informed through news releases, articles, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Public Health Matters Blog).
- We provide emergency preparedness and response efforts, as well as leadership, guidance, and collaboration around local health-related emergencies.
- Our dedicated Medical Reserve Corps volunteers support emergency preparedness and response efforts, and serve the community with several “Back to School Vaccination Clinics,” so our children are protected and ready to learn.
Child, Family and Community Wellness Division:
- The Nurse-Family Partnership program supports pregnant new moms and family health. Our nurses teach best practices for pregnancy and newborn health, as well as offering support and education around parenting that helps reduce child abuse and neglect.
- Our Developmental Disabilities program works to develop supported employment and community inclusion opportunities. The program contracts with various agencies and providers to offer services such as transportation, benefits planning, and advocacy services to individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families. We also provide support to families through recreational opportunities for adults with special needs.
- Our Healthy Homes program shares information and best practices to make your living environment healthier, and help you choose products at home and in your garden that are safe for you and your family.
- We provide resources and assistance to veterans and their families at the Lacey Veterans Service HUB, and in the community.
- We protect kids’ health by working to prevent childhood exposure to tobacco, vaping, and other substances.
- We work to promote opportunities to be active by walking, biking and playing.
- We promote good nutrition at schools and institutions and throughout the community.
- We work in partnership with Thurston Thrives’s array of action teams to accomplish our mission.
Disease Control and Prevention Division:
- We provide information to hospitals, schools, child care facilities, and the public to help keep people healthy, and we are a partner in emergency responses when the unexpected happens.
- We respond to reports of vaccine preventable diseases and communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, and others. We provide services to help track and contain those illnesses to protect the community, as well as promote immunizations and safe health practices.
- Our syringe exchange program provides comprehensive harm-reduction services, referral to treatment, information and tools to prevent transmission and spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and Hepatitis C.
Office of Housing and Homeless Prevention:
- We provide leadership, coordination, planning, data, and funding to support community efforts to end homelessness and ensure safe, healthy, adequate housing for all.
Environmental Health Division:
- We help protect clean water — the water we drink, but also clean public pools, lakes and beaches. We believe our residents should have safe, clean water to drink, and safe places to swim and recreate.
- We provide oversight to make sure your food is handled safely, and make sure you know when and where food isn’t safe to eat. Our inspectors visit a thousand restaurants and a hundred schools each year, in addition to the many public summer events that serve food.
- We makes sure that whether it’s bats in the attic, septic system management, or an algae bloom in the lake, you are kept informed about how to protect your health, your family’s health, and the health of your community.
Whatever the needs of our community, we provide support and services with integrity, transparency, and compassion 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about the work we do, visit our website at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/, or check out our Public Health Matters blog at www.thurstonhealth.blogspot.com. You also can join us on Facebook (ThurstonHealth), follow us on Twitter @ThurstonHealth, or visit us at 412 Lilly Road.
Reach Dr. Rachel C. Wood, health officer for Thurston and Lewis counties, at 360-867-2501, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @ThurstonHealth on Twitter.