It's National Public Health Week, and each day the Times is exploring a different aspect of the Carroll County Health Department's efforts to keep Carroll healthy.
"National Public Health Week is a time to recognize the often invisible work done by our local, state, and national public health departments to keep the public healthy and safe," said Dr. Henry Taylor, deputy health officer at the Carroll County Health Department.
An annual campaign of the American Public Health Association, National Public Health week is built around an overall theme, with "Healthiest Nation 2030 " being the theme for 2018. Additionally, each day of the week has it's own sub-theme: Behavioral health for Monday, communicable diseases on Tuesday, environmental health on Wednesday, injuries and preventing violence on Thursday and the right to a healthy life on Friday.
With the theme of a right to a healthy life set for Friday, the Times caught up with Amanda Haugh, director of the Health Department's Administration Bureau, and Health Planner Maggie Kunz, the two of whom jointly answered questions on how this bureau helps ensure people can live a healthy lifestyle.
Q: What does the Health Department's Administration Bureau do?
A: The Bureau of Administration provides a variety of community services, health planning, strategic planning, public health emergency response planning, and administrative support for the operation of the health department.
Q: What services does the Administration Bureau offer?
A: We issue birth and death certificates to Carroll County residents and funeral directors; offer non-emergency Medical Assistance (MA) Transportation services to eligible Carroll County recipients; support our clinical services with fee collection and electronic medical records; coordinate interpreter service availability for all programs; and maintain a public health emergency preparedness program, which enables the health department to help prevent and respond to public health emergencies.
Administration also provides internal support services such as procurement, information technology, human resources, fiscal services, records management (paper and electronic), security, building operations, communication and social media, policy management, emergency management, risk management and compliance for all services at the health department.
A: Health planning is the process of combining health data and community partner and public feedback to create plans that advance the health and well-being of a community.
The health department creates a Local Health Improvement Plan (LHIP) in coordination with the State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) and the Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC). We also participate in local population health initiatives. The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, a non-profit organization formed by the health department and Carroll Hospital that works to build capacity and improve quality of life in our community, completes a Community Health Needs Assessment that is integral to our planning process. We continuously work to improve our services at the Health Department through strategic planning, grant writing, and other community health planning and partnerships.
Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about health planning?
A: People can have a voice in community health planning. There are several opportunities for the public to participate in planning groups. The Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC) coordinated by the Health Department and The Partnership includes representatives from many county health and human service agencies, as well as individuals who are interested in health issues. The LHIC meets quarterly to discuss a broad range of health topics that impact our community. Meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is Wednesday, April 18, from 8:30-10:30 am at the Health Department, 290 South Center Street, Westminster and the public is welcome. The Partnership will be presenting the results of the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment.
People interested in getting more involved in health planning can also attend Health Department events and community forums, participate in community surveys, and contact us with ideas or concerns. Our Facebook page and the calendar on our website are great ways to keep up with these opportunities.