ELMIRA - The Chemung County Health Department seeks to promote and respond to our community’s health needs, demonstrate teamwork through open communication, support, respect, and accountability and provide efficient, courteous, professional service fairly and consistently. The Health Department collaborates with various organizations, groups, and departments in the community and develops programs and policies intended to improve the health of Chemung County residents.
Recently, the 2018 County Health Rankings Report was released. This report serves to illuminate health issues and point a way forward for health officials and community leaders. Chemung County saw improvements in the county health rankings, progressing 8 spots for health outcomes and progressing 1 spot for health factors. “It is encouraging to see improvement and we can look to the activities of the Chemung County Health Department and its partners as major contributors to this progress,” stated Peter Buzzetti, Public Health Director for Chemung County.
Currently, the Chemung County Health Department operates a free sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing and treatment clinic twice weekly and is a member of the Chemung County Sexual Health Task Force. The Health Department also conducts free lead testing of children and investigates reports of communicable diseases. In regards to substance abuse, including opioids, the Health Department works with Casa-Trinity, local law enforcement, and the County’s Mental Hygiene Department and participates in trainings and outreach. The Southern Tier Tobacco Coalition (STTAC) provides information on tobacco-free areas to local municipalities and businesses, supplies signage for such areas, and conducts outreach using local youth as participants. Environmental Health Services administers many programs including, inspecting local food service establishments, swimming pools and septic systems, enforces regulations pertaining to water safety and smoking indoors, as well as, conducting tobacco compliance checks to verify retailers are not selling tobacco to underage individuals. The Certified Home Health Agency provides in home nursing and therapy services to the residents of Chemung County. These services promote improved health and mobility that help to reduce the risk of hospitalizations. The Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) employs breastfeeding peer counselors that are available to assist breastfeeding mothers and their babies. WIC also distributes assistance and provides nutritional counseling. The Health Department works closely with the County’s Office of Emergency Management, Nursing Facility, and Arnot Health, as well as other community partners, to develop and practice emergency preparedness. The Health Department administers the Cancer Services Program that provides for free cancer screenings.
The Health Department plans to continue working towards the health improvement of all the residents of Chemung County, some new actions towards this goal include, the establishment of a county-wide coalition that seeks to reduce lead poisoning in children by addressing housing issues. This coalition brings together numerous agencies and people from different specialties to brainstorm methods and advocate for actions to reduce lead poisoning in the children of Chemung County. A new policy connects WIC and public health nurses in order to test more children for lead poisoning. Currently in the planning stages is an emergency preparedness practice drill in April that will test our ability to provide treatment to the residents of the county in an emergency.
In order to view all the health departments’ programs, please visit our webpage available here, http://www.chemungcountyhealth.org/ and feel free to call the health department at 737-2028 with any questions.