District 4 Public Health

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WIC appointment: 1-706-298-6080

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Getting Settled In

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Front Entrance on Main Street

It would be an understatement to say that District 4 staff are excited about their new building. Moving locations from the Gordon Commercial site had been in the making for quite some time. Newnan, Hogansville and even other parts of LaGrange were considerations leading up to this perfect downtown fit. However, few were holding their breaths that this move would actually come to fruition- but it did- just two years after Dr. Obasanjo stepped into the role of District 4’s Health Director.  “Being under Dr. O.’s leadership, I knew this was the real thing,” said Cassandra Peterson, District 4’s Human Resources Analyst. What had been years of a rumor has now become our reality.

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Chiquita Jackson and Bobbie Acevedo (WIC Call Center)

                The most exciting part about this move is the location. We are now in the heart of LaGrange, closer to this community, closer to our homes, out in the open and more visible for everyone else to see. Even at the beginning stages of the building, just after the old fire station had been torn down, we were already bringing folks to see. In August of 2015, District 4 was privileged to host a District Health Director’s Meeting and excited to show other Districts our new building location and plans.  Mr. Speer Burdette, President and General Manager of Callaway Foundation, Inc., referenced the economic impact of District 4’s move to Downtown LaGrange, bringing approximately fifty more people during the work week to enjoy the local restaurants and quaint shops.  “One of the things I am looking forward to most about this particular location is that if I want to go uptown to sit on the square and enjoy the fountain during my break, I can!” says Bobbie Acevedo, District 4’s WIC Call Center Customer Service Representative.

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Front View on Main Street Coming Into Town

Aside from the location being perfect, the building itself has already shown to be a positive shift. District 4’s Administrative Assistant for Children’s 1st, Elliette Moncada, said that she is looking forward to being closer to other program staff whom she would not have interacted with to such a degree in the other building. We went from two buildings joined by a breezeway, to this single building where we are actually in contact and daily communication with people that we have been working with for years but never saw. More highlights of this building that staff are enjoying are all the windows, the open space, newness, greatly improved security and a beautiful sign that makes a statement as people come into town.

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James Townsend and Chris Miller (District I.T.)

We are happy the move is over and looking forward to all of the new possibilities this location, building and the staff that comprise it will bring. “I suspect an increase in productivity,” says Amy Nixon, District 4’s Human Resources Transactions and Benefits Coordinator. Having a new facility gives a fresh start. It makes employees feel appreciated and valued which, in turn, improves the effectiveness of us being able to lead the way for our communities to live healthier and safer lives. District 4 strives to provide easier access to quality health services, engage in strong community partnerships, and promote healthy behaviors for everyone that we serve; we are all excited to do this with a brand new start.

You are invited to join us on July 29th at 11:30 a.m. for our ribbon cutting and open house at 301 Main Street.


District 4 Receives First Place in State-Wide Competition

Congratulations Troup County’s Public Health Educator, TiShari McFarland, and District 4’s Adult Health Coordinator, Sanda McFadden, for receiving first place in the Georgia Department of Public Health’s state-wide “Pregnancy Prevention Month” poster competition. TiShari McFarland designed the Family Planning poster for Teen Pregnancy Prevention. The Georgia Department of Public Health’s Maternal Child Health Section and the Women’s Health Program recognized District 4 and staff for demonstrating the most innovative strategy in teen pregnancy prevention. TiShari used Troup County’s Teen Maze concept to demonstrate how Troup County reaches out to the teens, works in collaboration with internal and external partners, and how this includes low marketing cost ideas. Congratulation to TiShari and District 4!

Click here for information about Troup County’s Teen Maze. For more information regarding Adult Health, click here.



TiShari McFarland (left) and Sanda McFadden (right)

Adopt a 100% Tobacco Free School Policy

The Georgia Department of Public Education (DOE), in partnership with the Georgia Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), is reaching out to you to offer support for the adoption of a 100% Tobacco Free Schools Policy within all public schools in the state of Georgia.

For more information on how to adopt a Model Policy, click here.


A LARC May Be A Good Option for You

Our Family Planning Services is excited to announce that we are now accepting Cigna, Coventry, Aetna and United Health Care insurances to cover your choice of LARCs (Long-acting reversible contraceptives). Click the link below for more information on why this is a good option for you, and call your local health department today to schedule your appointment or if you have any questions.

For additional information on other Family Planning Services we provide, click here.


Sometimes it Takes a Village

Immunization is a shared responsibility. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. They not only help protect our children when we vaccinate them, but can also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases. National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is April 16 – April 23, 2016, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urges Georgians to speak with a health care provider or doctor to make sure their babies are up-to-date on vaccinations.

“Parents, caregivers and health care providers are all critical in keeping our children protected,” said Dr. Obasanjo, District 4 Public Health Director.  “It’s easy to forget that one of the best ways to protect our children is to make sure they have all their vaccinations. When we protect our children, we are also protecting ourselves. Conversely, families and friends should think of their infants and ensure they are also current on their vaccinations to protect the little ones.”

NIIW is a call to action for parents, caregivers and health care providers to ensure that infants are fully vaccinated against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization is a shared responsibility.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

* Two doses given at least four weeks apart are recommended for children aged 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting a flu vaccine for the first time and for some other children in this age group.

  • Two doses of HepA vaccine are needed for lasting protection. The first dose of HepA vaccine should be given between 12 months and 23 months of age. The second dose should be given 6 to 18 months later. HepA vaccination may be given to any child 12 months and older to protect against HepA. Children and adolescents who did not receive the HepA vaccine and are at high-risk, should be vaccinated against HepA.

For those who are underinsured or whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them, there is the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The VFC program helps children get their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule and has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization coverage levels, making a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children.

According to the CDC, the United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Scientists, doctors and health care professionals give vaccines to children only after long and careful review. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for most children.

Call your local Health Department today to schedule your vaccination appointment.

Reducing the Mosquito Population in Georgia

Spring has arrived in Georgia. The trees are in bloom, tulips and daffodils are poking up from the ground, and the days are growing longer and warmer.

Another sure sign of spring – mosquitoes. They’ve spent the winter in egg stage and depending on temperature and rainfall will soon emerge going from egg to adult in a week to 10 days. Aside from being annoying, mosquitoes can carry disease. The Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) can spread dengue, chikungunya or Zika viruses.

There are ongoing Zika outbreaks in nearly 40 countries and territories in the Americas, Caribbean, Pacific Islands and Mexico. Zika virus has been linked to serious birth defects in infants and studies are also being done to determine whether there is a connection between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

So far there are no reports of locally transmitted Zika cases in Georgia or anywhere in the United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers.

Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes, which can be found in Georgia. Zika virus is passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then transmit the virus to other people. Sexual transmission of Zika has also been documented.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in Zika virus infections in Brazil and neighboring countries since 2014,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “We must be cautious and we must take steps now to prevent Zika from spreading to Georgia or the U.S.”

So how can the spread of Zika virus infection be prevented in Georgia? It begins at home – both inside and outside.

Female mosquitoes lay several hundred eggs on the walls of water-filled containers – even a container as small as a bottle cap is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. When water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adults in about a week to 10 days. They bite primarily during the day and at dusk. A few infected mosquitoes can produce large outbreaks in a community and put families at risk of becoming sick.

If you have things in and around your home and yard that could hold water, get rid of them! One of the most effective ways to control the mosquito population is to eliminate standing water. After every rainfall and at least once a week, Tip ‘n Toss. Dump out standing water in flowerpots and planters, children’s toys, or trash containers. Do not allow water to accumulate in old tires, rain gutters, or piles of leaves or natural holes in vegetation. Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. For containers without lids and too big to Tip ‘N Toss (bird baths, pools), use larvicides such as mosquito dunks or mosquito torpedoes (they will not hurt birds or animals).

Trimming vegetation and cutting tall grass can help reduce the number of adult mosquito resting places. Community clean up campaigns, including free landfill or dump days or free trash pick-up days, encourage residents to clean up around their homes and are very effective in eliminating places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. The Georgia Department of Public Health is encouraging all Georgians to use the first two weeks of April to clean up around their homes and yards.

Adult mosquitoes live inside and outside so it’s important to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Use screens on windows and doors, making sure they are in good repair and fit tightly. Use air conditioning when it’s available. Mosquitoes are not strong fliers, so using fans on porches and patios can also help reduce mosquito exposure.

It is important to use personal protection to avoid mosquito bites when engaging in outdoor activities. Wear lightweight long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks. Using EPA-registered insect repellents containing 20%-30% DEET or a product such as oil of lemon eucalyptus will reduce exposure to mosquitoes.

Controlling the mosquito population will take all of us – working together as neighbors, united in a common cause – to prevent the spread of Zika virus in Georgia.

ZIKA Infographic
Fact Sheet

For more information about Zika virus, visit dph.ga.gov/zika or cdc.gov/zika.


Troup County Hillside Montessori Community Garden

District 4 is coordinating a community garden at Hillside Montessori School in Troup County this fiscal year.  The garden benefits the diverse community of learners (26) and their families.  The students will use the garden as a way to teach members of the community surrounding the school about healthy eating and sustainable environmental practices.  Students will coordinate their annual Earth Day Festival and invite their neighbors.  The garden will be the focal point of the festival.

The Junior Master Gardner curriculum developed by the University Cooperative Extension Network is being incorporated into the daily lessons to help educate students about gardening, improve interpersonal relationship skills, increase self-esteem and help develop a sense of ownership and responsibility.  The curriculum teaches a broad range of horticultural and environmental education topics including science process skills, observation, taking measurements and problem solving through both group and individual learning experiences.

West Georgia Technical College Culinary students (Newnan campus) provided a Healthy Snack activity in October 2015.  Students learned how to make a healthy ranch dip to eat with garden fresh vegetables.

Students have planted kale, lettuce, romaine, spinach, radishes, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, garlic, onions, cabbage and beets.  Students roasted kale chips for a healthy snack and made carrot pancakes at harvest time.

2016 County Health Rankings

We are excited to announce that the 2016 County Health Rankings has been released! Each year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute collaborate to produce the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

The County Health Rankings website is user friendly, allowing you to navigate through every county in the United States. Click here to compare the twelve counties that District 4 proudly serves.

District 4 Receives Funding to Prepare for National Accreditation

District 4 Receives Funding to Prepare for National Accreditation

Lagrange, GA – January 28, 2016

District 4 has been awarded $15,000 to support its progress in meeting the requirements of the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), the first and only voluntary national accreditation program for public health departments. District 4 is one of 23 local health departments from 20 states and three health departments in US territories to receive this funding through the Accreditation Support Initiative (ASI). A total of 104 local health departments of all sizes and types, ranging from rural to urban applied for this funding.

Now in its fifth year, the ASI was created in 2011 to promote national accreditation readiness among a greater number of local health departments and support their varying needs to reach accreditation. Funding for the ASI is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CDC) and administered by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).

District 4 received funding under the general category of Community Engagement in the MAPP Process utilizing 4 assessment tools. The department will use the award for Phase 3 accreditation activities including: completion of Community Themes and Strengths Assessment, Forces of Change Analysis, 10 Essentials of Public Health Survey, and Community Health Status Assessment.

“Accreditation validates what we do every day to serve the public,” says Merrilea Reeves, former Spalding County Board of Health Chairman of almost ten years.

More information, including a full list of selected local health departments and descriptions of the work they have been funded to complete, can be found at www.naccho.org/asi.

*Disclaimer: Awards are pending execution of a contract with NACCHO and successful completion of project deliverables.

About District 4 Public Health:

Public health is about ensuring the safety of the food we eat and the water we drink. It is about stopping the spread of infectious diseases, promoting good health and managing chronic conditions.
Simply put, public health is concerned with the health of populations – a neighborhood, city, county, state, and even the nation. It differs from individual health and treatment because while public health can deliver direct healthcare services, it focuses on prevention, promoting healthy lifestyles, education and research.

About the National Association of County and City Health Officials:

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities.

Maximize Your Metabolism

Around this time every year, people begin to grow weary of the goals they set for the new year. This year, District 4 wants you to be successful in your 2016 goals-particularly your health and fitness ones. The following tips are practical things that will easily fit into your daily routines. Some you may already know, some you may not- but they all will lead you to healthier lifestyle which is the most important part.  Follow these metabolism booster secrets to get the most out of your 2016 fitness goals!


1. Build Muscle
          1 pound of muscle burns 35-50 calories/day (1 pound of fat burns 2 kcal/day)
2. Increase workout intensity
          Do more this month than you did last month
          Increase: distance, speed, number of workout sessions, weight lifted
3. Drink more water
          MINIMUM of 1.5 L/100 pound body weight (ex: 200 pound man needs 3L+/day)
4. Drink COLD water
5. Eat breakfast
           Be sensible – low fat, high protein SMALL meal
6. Eat often – mini meals
7. Spice up your meals – hot peppers, ginger, black pepper
8. Eat more protein
9. Drink coffee and tea – especially green tea
10. Avoid stress and sleep well!
           Aim for 6+ hrs sleep/24 hr period
         < 5 hrs/night doubles your chance of being obese, and increases stress levels
11. Check your meds – some can increase appetite or weight gain
12. Don’t sit still
          Stand instead of sitting
          Move instead of staying still
13. Avoid dietary supplements & fad diets
          All diets work…until you go off them!
          Dietary supplements can contain ANYTHING, and won’t help you lose weight


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