Atlantic County Celebrates Public Health Week
Since 1995, the first full week in April has been recognized as National Public Health Week.
Each year, the public health community recognizes Public Health Week by focusing on the issues that are important to improving the public's health, while promoting awareness of public health services.
Locally, the Atlantic County Division of Public Health is supporting the national initiative by reminding residents about the programs and services offered in Atlantic County, aimed at keeping residents and their neighborhoods healthy.
"Our mission in Atlantic County is to offer comprehensive health services, designed to educate and enhance the health and well being of our residents," stated Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.
The Division of Public Health is comprised of four units including Community Health and Clinical Services, Environmental Health, Health Planning and Education and Substance Abuse Services.
The Community Health Clinic offers a wide range of clinical programs including a variety of health screenings for both men and women including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Flu and pneumonia shots are available to residents at annual public clinics held throughout the county each fall. Pneumonia shots are also offered year round by appointment. Specialized women's services include pap smears and mammogram prescriptions. Immunizations and screenings for children are also available. In addition, the Community Health Unit also tracks and investigates potential contagious illnesses.
The Environmental Unit works to ensure safe and healthy environments through water testing, investigating public health nuisances, inspecting restaurants and septic systems and responding to public health and environmental emergencies. The Environmental Unit also conducts illegal dumping investigations and controls the spread of diseases such as rabies and West Nile Virus. This unit also enforces tobacco laws and permits body art establishments throughout our community.
The Health Planning and Education Unit works with individuals and groups to provide research, resources and information on health issues that affect our community. Workshops and presentations are available to the public on a variety of health topics. This unit also collaborates with county agencies to prepare for possible health emergencies such as bioterrorism and disease outbreaks. They also provide accurate and timely health news and alerts to health care providers, residents and the media.
The Substance Abuse Services Unit addresses the problems of drug and alcohol abuse by ensuring the availability of treatment services. Services include detoxifications, inpatient and outpatient services, halfway house programs and substance abuse education. This unit also administers the Intoxicated Driver Program for anyone who has been convicted of driving under the influence and must attend a 12 or 48 hour program in lieu of a jail term.
"We are striving to improve the health of our residents through our existing programs, while expanding our services to meet the growing needs of our diverse population," explained Health Officer Patricia Diamond.