Local official advances to head national public health association
Clark County celebrated for innovation at annual meeting of health leaders
Don Strick, Public Health
Vancouver, WA — Revamping health departments for the future is essential in an era of economic challenges and health care reform. This was a key message in an address today to the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) by Clark County Public Health Director John Wiesman.
He noted that our public health department has lost half its staff and 40 percent of its budget in recent years. “By transitioning some essential services to community partners, we’re now in a better position to make changes at the community and policy levels that can have a greater impact on improving the community’s health.”
Wiesman was installed as the incoming president of the national association during its annual meeting in Los Angeles. As he took office, he emphasized the need to bring public health and medical care closer together to reduce health care costs and improve health outcomes.
“As hospitals, health plans and providers work to heal one patient at a time, we need them to support public health efforts to create conditions that will keep many people healthier in the first place.”
He also underscored the importance of building on past successes in preventing and controlling disease while tackling current and future issues, such as obesity, chronic disease and health impacts of climate change.
Themes from Wiesman’s address are highlighted in a recent interview with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: http://blog.rwjf.org/publichealth/2012/07/11/naccho-qa-john-wiesman/#more-8113.
Wiesman joined Clark County Public Health as its director in 2004. He works with many community partners and with leaders and policymakers throughout Clark County and Washington state. He looks forward to the local benefits of his increasing experience at the national level.
“I’m honored to be part of this professional organization of public health leaders from across the country,” said Wiesman. “NACCHO is a vital link between federal policy makers and those of us working to protect and improve the health of our local communities. NACCHO also provides local public health a forum for sharing best practices and tools for improving the delivery of public health services.”
Clark County receives a model practice award
The annual meeting recognizes model practices from health departments nationwide. This year, Clark County Public Health received an award for using the local Emergency Community Notification System (ECNS) to investigate infectious disease outbreaks more quickly and efficiently.
More information about the notification system is available from Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency at http://www.cresa911.org/be-informed/.