2016 Annual Report
FROM THE DESK OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR
It is my pleasure to present to you the Cattaraugus County Health Department’s 2016 Annual Report. This report provides an overview of the many services that the department provides in an effort to preserve and promote public health in Cattaraugus County.
During the year, the department has seen itself more engaged in addressing health problems through collaborative community efforts. Public and private partners came together over many months to develop, and in some cases, implemented plans for handling the poor county health rankings. The Healthy Livable Communities Consortium, in an effort to be inclusive, worked on a grant Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities funded by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to develop inclusion policies, systems, and environmental (PSE) improvements that would increase opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, and the prevention of tobacco use for people living with disabilities.
Policy changes in the form of a local law to combat youth form being introduced to tobacco early in adolescence was adopted this year. The Board of Health efforts to decrease early deaths, cut low birth weights and “substantially” reduce the number of 15- to 17-year-olds who begin smoking before age 21 was supported by the County legislators who adopted a local law to prohibit the sale of tobacco and related products in Cattaraugus County to individuals under the age of twenty-one.
The year found the department educating the public about periodic national and statewide public health crises that included the Zika and the mumps viruses. Due to the national attention garnered by these viruses, the department was able to shine light on its readiness to handle a public health crisis for the residents of Cattaraugus County by developing a Zika Action Plan and updating the isolation and quarantine protocol.
This was the year that Cattaraugus County Heroin-Opioid Taskforce was created by the county Legislators. The taskforce was formed in order to address the public health crisis seen nationwide. The Public Health Director and Community Service Director were appointed as the conveners of the task-force. Community partners have been brought together to work on broad responses that encompass awareness, prevention, and crisis intervention. The taskforce members are working to bring more residential beds to the community, providing a medication assisted therapy center, and increasing naloxone administration training for the community.
The department continues its quest to become an accredited Health Department. The preparation and dedication by the accreditation team and department management staff is unrelenting. I would like to extend my appreciation to the entire department for a job well done.
Finally, the Cattaraugus County Health Department is pleased to share this annual report and would like to thank you for taking the time to familiarize yourself with our dynamic programs and quality services. It is a pleasure to serve our residents and we look forward to maintaining a healthy relationship with you in the upcoming years.
Kevin D. Watkins, M.D., M.P.H.