Public Health Week recognizes the contributions of those in public health and highlights issues important to improving the nation’s health. The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) will highlight Public Health Week April 2nd-6th, 2018 by featuring several health activities and informational sessions for residents. DBCH Commissioner A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH encourages residents to participate, as DBCH staff works to bring together its partners to ensure and protect the health of Dutchess County.
“The very core of public health touches each one of us every day in our diverse county,” Dr. Vaidian said. “From the visiting public health nurse who provides instruction to a new mother, to the sanitarians who monitor food and water resources, to the dedicated mental health professionals who connect those living with mental health or addiction issues to life-changing recovery and support, DBCH staff work tirelessly each day to improve people’s health and lives.”
One of Dutchess County’s largest departments with more than 200 employees, DBCH offers a broad and diverse array of programs and services to protect and promote the health of individuals, families, communities and the environment of Dutchess County. Among other accomplishments in 2017:
- DBCH personnel trained more than 2,400 people in the use of Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose;
- Served more than 2,000 guests at the Dutchess County Stabilization Center, a 24/7 walk-in facility for those facing mental health or substance abuse issues;
- Evaluated more than 1,600 children under 6 years old evaluated for early intervention services and/or pre-school education;
- Made more than 1,400 visits to public water supplies to investigate complaints, collect samples, conduct inspections and follow up on critical violations;
- Conducted 5,000 inspections of food service, bathing beach, campground, children’s camp, migrant farmworker housing, mobile home park, rooming house, swimming pool, and temporary residences;
- Performed 880 weighing and measuring device and gas signage inspections; and
- The Division of Veterans Services made 23,071 total contacts.
During Public Health Week, DBCH will offer several opportunities to engage the community and encourage residents to improve their health:
- Monday, April 2nd: Safely dispose of unwanted or unnecessary medications at one of 10 medication drop boxes located throughout the county. To help combat the opioid addiction crisis, residents are urged to by review the medications in their homes, collect those no longer needed, and safely dispose them at one of 10 medication drop boxes located throughout the county. Information about the Dutchess County Prescription Medication Drop Box Program is available at DutchessNY.gov/MedicationDisposal.
- Tuesday, April 3rd: Sign up for Narcan training. Residents can also become more active in the fight against opioid overdoses by receiving training in the use Narcan. Residents can learn more about upcoming trainings at DutchessNY.gov/Narcan.
- Wednesday, April 4th: “Walk with the Commissioner.” Residents are invited join Dr. Vaidian for a 30-minute walk around the City of Poughkeepsie, beginning at 12:30pm at 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie. The first 100 participants will receive reflective bracelets promoting “Watch Out for Me,” Dutchess County’s pedestrian safety program. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to take a 30-minute walk around their office or home and post their participation to Facebook and Twitter using #HealthyDutchess.
- Thursday, April 5th: Microgreens education and indoor gardens tours. Residents can learn about the benefits of consuming nutrient-dense microgreens on Thursday, April 5th at the Indoor Organic Gardens of Poughkeepsie, 316 Main Street, Poughkeepsie. Attendees can enjoy informational tours and samples from the microgreen gardens beginning at 11:30am and 12:30pm. They can also learn about Dutchess County’s award-winning microgreen project, a collaboration between the County and its community partners, which supplements the diets of two vulnerable populations – seniors and inner-city schoolchildren – and trains at-risk individuals to grow the microgreens. More information is available at www.IndoorOrganicGardensOfPoughkeepsie.com or by calling (845) 486-3565.
Safeguarding the health of Dutchess County residents is a year-round responsibility for DBCH staff. Personnel routinely engage the public to ensure residents remain as healthy as possible.
To further help those living with addiction, Dutchess County will host a public forum on Thursday, April 19th to discuss services needed for those in the County dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. Community members, particularly family members and caregivers, are encouraged to attend and share their input at the forum in the DBCH Training Room, 230 North Road, Poughkeepsie. More information is available by calling (845) 486-2751. Residents who are unable to attend can submit comments online at DutchessNY.gov/ForumComments.
DBCH will host its annual Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Stakeholders Forum on Tuesday, April 3rd at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library & Home. The event, which will include the County’s many collaborators, will report updates and outcome highlights in the areas of chronic disease, tick-borne disease, substance abuse and mental health. The public can learn more about the CHIP by visiting DutchessNY.gov/CHIP.
“With the beginning of spring and the spotlight on public health in April, it’s an ideal time for all of us to kick-start new healthy activities and be a part of #HealthyDutchess,” said Dr. Vaidian.