EVERETT--- No balloons, no cake, no fanfare. The 220 women and men who staff the Snohomish Health District choose to celebrate National Public Health Week with “business as usual,” knowing that their success simply is the good health of the communities they serve.
“I cannot think of a single person on my staff who is in this line of work for applause or recognition,” said M. Ward Hinds, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Snohomish Health District. “They work quietly and professionally, behind the scenes, often at tasks other people would turn away from doing.” Established in 1959, Snohomish Health District is the public health agency for all of Snohomish County, including its 20 incorporated cities and towns.
“We are nurses, sanitarians, physicians, epidemiologists, statisticians, dental hygienists, health educators, nutritionists, social workers, case managers, clerical and administrative support staff, prevention specialists, community health outreach workers, and counselors,” said Dr. Hinds.
Public health activities contribute greatly to the quality of life through ensuring safe drinking and recreational waters; maintaining absence of life threatening diseases such as polio, diphtheria and smallpox; control and prevention of foodborne illnesses, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; sanitary disposal of waste; and promotion of healthy lifestyles to prevent injuries, chronic diseases, and infant mortality.
Additionally, Snohomish Health District investigates outbreaks of disease; sponsors peer education groups to promote healthy behavior among teens; provides outreach and education in support of cancer prevention activities, such as mammograms and Pap tests; offers birth control information and counseling; and issues birth and death certificates. The Health District gathers health data and publishes health reports for Snohomish County to identify trends, progress and emerging health issues.
Said Dr. Hinds, “Snohomish Health District does not expect applause for serving you. Our staff do their work because they believe in what they are doing. What we do need is your support to continue these activities and services that keep our communities healthy. Our growing population in Snohomish County is causing an increasing need and demand for public health services at the same time that passage of public initiatives and other pressures are reducing resources available to provide these services.
“We cannot afford to lose a strong public health presence in Snohomish County,” said Dr. Hinds. “As former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once said, ‘Some of us need health care services some of the time; all of us need public health services all of the time.’”
Please visit our Web site, www.snohd.org for more information.
Did you know that Snohomish Health District...?
- provides services and information in 16 languages
- inspects 2,500 food service facilities up to three times a year
- ensures cleanup of contamination of illegal drug lab sites
- issues more than 12,000 individual food handler cards a year
- investigates more than 1,200 complaints annually for illegal dumping, toxic hazards, wastewater and rats
- loans car seats and bike helmets to low-income families
- applied 11,000 dental sealants to children’s teeth since 1994
- gave more than 26,400 immunizations last year at our two clinics and offsite
- screens and treats people for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted and other communicable diseases
- counsels and immunizes international travelers to protect them overseas
- trained 2,358 child care providers in health and safety classes last year
- made approximately 8,300 visits to pregnant and parenting women and children, including children with special health care needs
- tests about 200 drinking water samples every month