Chautauqua County Health Department Celebrates National Public Health Week

Submitted by Justin Gould on Thu, 03/28/2024 - 09:46

All Staff 2023-cropped

(Chautauqua County Health Department Staff)

MAYVILLE, N.Y. – Health Departments across the nation are taking part to celebrate National Public Health Week (NPHW), April 1-7. The Chautauqua County Health Department highlights the NPHW theme Protecting, Connecting, and Thriving: We are all public health.  We all — individuals, families, communities and the public health workforce —have a part to play in our “public’s health.” The first step in helping to improve our health and wellbeing, is understanding the power that comes from joining together, engaging in our community and making choices that help protect ourselves and our neighbors.

“Our individual and public health is undoubtedly related to community engagement.  Connecting with neighbors and being an active part of one’s community breeds a deeper sense of responsibility, understanding, and desire for equitability, inclusivity, and responsiveness to the needs of those around us,” states Lacey Wilson, Chautauqua County Public Health Director, “We truly are better and stronger together – ‘a cord of three strands is not easily broken.’ Our personal health outcomes improve relative to our social engagement, and we help those around us thrive when we make positive choices for ourselves and our communities.”

The Chautauqua County Health Department is tasked with facilitating a county-wide health system that ensures coverage of six core service areas, which include:  chronic disease prevention, emergency preparedness and response, family health, infectious disease surveillance, community and environmental health.  This work is carried out through two central divisions: Community Health and Environmental Health, as well as ensuring a robust system of communication and outreach is also in place. The following highlight some of the on-going and as-needed initiatives the Health Department either provides directly or along-with partner agencies in the community.

Civic Engagement:

This year, the Health Department is working closely with the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development to provide technical assistance to municipalities with an outcome to increase and improve green spaces throughout the county.  This goal of this endeavor is to ensure all residents have safe and equitable access to utilize our beautiful natural and built outdoor resources, as we know physical activity and fresh air are integral to our health.  Soon, residents will have an opportunity to let their voices be heard by participating in a survey about these resources and how access to them within our towns and villages can be improved. The survey will be available on the Health Department’s website HealthyCHQ.com and on Facebook @healthyCHQ.

Healthy Neighborhoods:

The Chautauqua County Health Department leads a strategic, collaborative approach to mitigate and prevent addiction and substance misuse, leading to improved outcomes for individuals directly affected by addiction and a focused dismantling of the local predatory illicit drug market, as well as improving the safety of our neighborhoods. Working with many partners across the county, the Department plans and organizes workgroups and initiatives to prevent overdose, support treatment and recovery, and encourage prevention, as well as raise awareness of the dangers of drug use.  To learn more about Chautauqua County's ongoing efforts to combat drug addiction, visit combataddictionchq.com, a website that provides support and resources to those struggling with substance use disorder.

New Tools and Innovations:

The department is developing a new communications and outreach division to improve dialogue and find innovative ways to share public health information with the community, when and where it matters. This new division will continue efforts to engage county residents in new and meaningful ways to provide credible and fact-based public health information, as well as amplify the vision, and purpose of the health department to prevent disease, promote wellness, and protect the health of our community, so that community members know where and how to find us.

Reproductive and Sexual Health:

The Health Department partners with The Chautauqua Center (TCC) in providing reproductive services including contraception, pregnancy testing, education, counseling, STD/STI testing and treatment, HIV testing and HPV vaccination services. These services are available for individuals of reproductive age, regardless of sexual orientation/preference, ability to pay, or race.

Emergency and Environmental Preparedness:

From preparing for extreme weather events like wildfires and water availability amidst drought conditions, the Emergency Preparedness team implements a continuous planning strategy for proper response during disasters that may occur in Chautauqua County.  Their team maintains communication with other community agencies who work together to respond in efficient ways that reduce the impact of such disasters.  Emergency Preparedness staff work constantly to improve their procedures and response efforts, so that in the event of an emergency, they are ready to take the action needed.

Future of Public Health:

In addition to the six core areas the Local Health Department coordinates, we also serve as a health access “safety net” to fill gaps in services available in our communities. The Chautauqua County Health Department strives to remain aware of the emerging needs of our residents and is committed to continue their efforts to prevent disease, promote wellness, and protect the health of our community.

About Chautauqua County Health Department - The Chautauqua County Health Department is the leading Public Health organization in Chautauqua County dedicated to the support of the community’s health.  The Health Department takes innovative approaches to provide technical assistance to partner organizations, and offers various programs and services in order to help prevent disease, protect the public’s health and promote our community’s overall health and wellness.  For more information visit www.HealthyCHQ.com.


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