South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019
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May 2010 - Volume 6 - Issue 11

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Public Health Working Toward a Healthier America: One Community at a Time

Throughout America, people are encouraged to reflect on public health and how it contributes to healthier communities. Think for a moment of the positive effect we could have on the health of our community if we all made a commitment to promote good health. Think of the ripple effect from Hallandale Beach to Deerfield, from Fort Lauderdale to Weston, which would be seen on this generation and magnified for future generations in our county. As the local public health leader, the Broward County Health Department (BCHD) leads and supports your neighborhood efforts to promote healthy nutrition, prevent toddlers from drowning, encourage people to get vaccinated, create policies that deter smoking in public places, and support all healthy activities.

BCHD leads coalitions to prevent and address community health issues by partnering and leveraging resources. These Coalitions include the Nutrition and Fitness Taskforce, Immunization Action Coalition, Drowning Prevention Taskforce and HIV Community Planning Partnership. BCHD also participates in many committees and boards that plan and implement community health initiatives. In addition, BCHD is responsible for leading the response to public health emergencies, such as the H1N1 pandemic.

Health Department activities prevent both communicable and chronic disease in our community. BCHD monitors and investigates the occurrence of diseases, such as Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, and takes swift action to prevent outbreaks. BCHD promotes healthy choices and the reduction of risky behaviors though public education and outreach efforts in many areas including HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and tobacco use.

The BCHD Environmental Health Program works to protect our community from environmental risks. These activities include facility inspections, water testing, beach water monitoring, permitting of septic tanks, permitting changes to water systems, radiation control, approval of plans for and inspections of pools, and investigation of sanitary nuisance complaints. Staff also collaborates with community partners on such issues as climate change and designing healthier communities.

Each and every one of us can play a role in helping our community to become a healthier place, by advocating for parks and walking trails, recycling, and encouraging children and grandchildren to eat in a healthier way. As the Director of your Broward County Health Department and as a person with a passion for public health, I challenge each and every one of you to join us in making Broward County a healthier place to live, work and play.

Dr. Paula Thaqi, Director of the Broward County Health Department, can be reached at (954) 467-4700.
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