MCHD, Mobile County EMA take part in exercise

April 6, 2022

MCHD, Mobile County EMA take part in exercise

MOBILE, Ala. — On March 24, employees from different departments at the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) came together with the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency to prepare for an exercise dealing with the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

The SNS is part of the federal medical response infrastructure. It can supplement medical countermeasures needed by states, tribal nations, territories, and the largest metropolitan areas during public health emergencies.

The MCHD departments taking part included Emergency Preparedness, Vector Services, Disease Surveillance, and Control, Environmental Health, and COVID-19 Response Team. The employees were given a safety briefing on the MCHD West Mobile Warehouse, the exercise’s objectives, and a tour of the warehouse.

The actual exercise took place on March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Alabama Department of Public Health gave each public health district permission to break into the SNS of personal protective equipment (PPE) that has been prepositioned because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPE available in the SNS located in Mobile included surgical masks, KN-95 masks, 3M respirators, hand sanitizer, face shields, two types of gowns, and cloth masks.

Some of these items had an expiration date in the next year. This is why permission was granted to use the supplies.

“We wanted to get them out as soon as possible, so they didn’t go to waste,” said Erin Coker, the Emergency Preparedness Administrator for MCHD.

An email was sent with the available items. And approximately 37 facilities took advantage of receiving free PPE. These different facilities included schools, Community Health Centers, hospitals, federal partners, Emergency Medical Services, local shelters, churches, and local home health agencies.

“All supplies that we had in stock were given away,” Ms. Coker said. “The total number of supplies given away was close to a million pieces.”

The following MCHD employees took place in the exercise: Tommy Busby (Vector), Brittany Edmondson (EP), Shannon Faye (Disease Surveillance and Control), Bryan Hill (COVID), JC Lahrs (COVID), Perry Randle-Suggs (COVID), Derrick Scott (Environmental Health), Katy Stembridge (EP), William Taylor (Vector Services), Latosia Turnbough (Healthcare Coalition), Henry Wright (Vector) and Ms. Coker.

National Public Health Week looks at our community

April 6, 2022

National Public Health Week looks at our community

MOBILE, Ala. — During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW). This week is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) joins APHA in celebrating the 27th NPHW on April 4-10, 2022. This year’s theme, Public Health is Where You Are, celebrates what we know is true — the places where we are, physically, mentally, and societally affect our health and our lives. Each day during the week has a theme that focuses on the intersections of our lives that affect our health and well-being.

The Mobile County Health Department’s Health Equity Office recognizes today’s theme of “Community: Collaboration and Resilience” as a part of National Public Health Week. Community is a vital part of our overall wellbeing because it encompasses where we live, work, learn, and play.

People with higher levels of social connectedness may live longer, respond better to stress, and have stronger immune systems than those are more isolated from their community. However, it goes beyond social isolation to the how our communities are planned, designed, and built. Our built environment can have a major influence on our health and wellbeing.

For example, high rates of violence, unsafe air or water, and transportation barriers can lead to vastly different life expectancies between neighborhoods. Communities of color are more likely to live in neighborhoods with these risks, highlighting the need for interventions to ensure that everyone can live their healthiest life.

Skandan Ananthasekar, an Outreach Educator with the Health Equity Office, interviewed Tokie Dunn, Director of Community Prevention Programs, to learn from her expertise about the importance of community. Ms. Dunn’s work at MCHD gives her the opportunity to make our community better by embracing the vision for “a healthy, safe, prepared, and educated community.”

Ms. Dunn believes that our communities benefit greatly from those who are aware of limitations and disparities that exist in health care and whose passion it is to educate and link individuals and communities to the myriad of resources available. According to Ms. Dunn, meeting individuals where they are is vital in creating the trust needed for empowerment which inevitably helps to create a better-informed society.

To make an impact on public health in our community, she believes that there must be an awareness, acknowledgement, and commitment to creating change within the agency and beyond into the needed communities. However, having an innate ability to help others is only the beginning. As Ms. Dunn explains, it is necessary to foster activities and actively participate in communities to promote empowerment that will be key to creating long lasting, positive change. _____________________________________________________________________________________

This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Public Health Week looks at our public health workforce

April 5, 2022

National Public Health Week looks at our public health workforce

MOBILE, Ala. — During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW). This week is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) joins APHA in celebrating the 27th NPHW on April 4-10, 2022. This year’s theme, Public Health is Where You Are, celebrates what we know is true — the places where we are, physically, mentally, and societally affect our health and our lives. Each day during the week has a theme that focuses on the intersections of our lives that affect our health and well-being.

Courtney Boyer, a Human Resources Coordinator for MCHD, has submitted the following article to look at today’s theme of “Public Health Workforce: Essential to our Future”:

As an H.R. Coordinator of MCHD, we are consistently looking for the “ideal” employee to support the agency and our communities. With all that we have encountered these last few years, each public health care worker’s actions have aided to pertinent care that has been rendered to the citizens of Mobile County.

Moreover, the public trust and confidence to resolve issues has given us the ability to render proper medical care, set superior standards, and add more possibilities of healthcare in the near future. Our health care workers are setting a standard for themselves and the workforce.

Just as were have been accepted by our communities, we must trust accept our employees. The understanding and concept of inclusion is the main idea that all identities matter and are embraced as an asset with value.

Many times, the superior or leader is given the credit for the success, when the team is the winner the whole time. Our employees have great ideas for improvements and keeping them involved thru survey and forums in workplace satisfaction regulates comradery and teamwork.
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This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Public Health Week looks at climate change

April 9, 2022

National Public Health Week looks at climate change

MOBILE, Ala. — During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW). This week is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) joins APHA in celebrating the 27th NPHW on April 4-10, 2022. This year’s theme, Public Health is Where You Are, celebrates what we know is true — the places where we are, physically, mentally, and societally affect our health and our lives.

Each day during the week has a theme that focuses on the intersections of our lives that affect our health and well-being. Today’s theme is “Climate Change: Taking Action for Equity.”

Climate change poses one of the most significant public health threats today by creating a series of interconnected impacts on human health. We know that while climate change hurts everyone, people of color and those with lower incomes experience greater health harms that white and wealthy people, despite being less responsible for the problem. To address social inequities and improve our health, we need to strengthen partnerships with communities most impacted by climate change, support community-directed solutions, and improve access to healthcare.

To highlight the importance of climate change and equity, the Health Equity Office is featuring Derrick Scott, Director of Environmental Health Services at MCHD. Scott and his team work to address the impacts of climate change in their daily work through inspection services, vector services, and onsite. Each program safeguards the public from unsanitary conditions, limits the spread of vector borne diseases, and ensures the water supply is safe.

Scott has a personal connection with this topic, sharing that structural racism has been a catalyst in pushing lower income communities and people of color into unfavorable living and working conditions. Scott shared that he grew up in a low-income community in Birmingham, plagued by years of pollution from toxic facilities. The residents suffered from numerous health conditions, often not identified until years later. The companies responsible for decades of pollution were required to remediate the contaminated soil and provide monetary compensation to those affected.

Structural racism has pushed lower-income communities and people of color to areas that have fewer resources and more climate vulnerability. Race is the number one indicator for placement of toxic facilities, like the ones Scott mentioned above. People in impacted communities often have limited access to health care and emergency services, increasing their risk of illness, injuries, and death from climate change.

Scott said it best with, “The community in which you live, the mindset of how you feel about where you live, and the overall position of society as it relates to the issues has a dramatic effect on your health.”
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This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Special Open Enrollment for health insurance announced

April 4, 2022

Special Open Enrollment for health insurance announced

MOBILE, Ala. — Thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) savings, the White House recently announced a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) opportunity for low-income consumers at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is approximately $19,000 for an individual and $40,000 for a family of four.

This SEP will be available to consumers who have applied for Marketplace coverage since Open Enrollment ended and who didn’t have access to another SEP from a recent life event, such as a loss of coverage, and will enable eligible consumers to enroll in a Marketplace plan.

According to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, “No parent should have to choose between putting food on the table or securing life-saving care for the family. The Biden-Harris Administration has been laser-focused on making health care more accessible and affordable than ever before. We know this has been a tough time for a lot of people and want to make sure the door is always open for them to sign up for coverage. We will continue to ensure health care is within reach for all those who need it.”

The Mobile County Health Department and Family Health, its primary care division, have Certified Application Counselors ready to assist. The counselors have been trained and are able to help consumers as they look for health coverage options through the Health Insurance Exchange. They can assist consumers in completing eligibility and enrollment forms. Assistance by the Certified Application Counselors is free to consumers.

Certified Application Counselors can be found at all Family Health centers conveniently located throughout Mobile County. To make an appointment, please call the Family Health center located closest to you. For a list of sites, you may visit https://mchd.org/family-health/#locations or call 251-690-8964.

National Public Health Week starts today

April 4, 2022

National Public Health Week starts today

MOBILE, Ala. — During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW). This week is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) joins APHA in celebrating the 27th NPHW on April 4-10, 2022. This year’s theme, Public Health is Where You Are, celebrates what we know is true—the places where we are, physically, mentally, and societally affect our health and our lives. Each day during the week has a theme that focuses on the intersections of our lives that affect our health and well-being.

Melissa McKnight, the Senior Program Administrator for MCHD’s Health Equity Office, has submitted the following article to look at today’s theme of “Racism: A Public Health Crisis”:

We know that disparities in health are well-documented between White communities and other communities of color. Of course, the root of the problem is not one of skin color. Black and Hispanic community members are not facing higher death rates from diabetes, heart disease, and COVID-19 compared to White community members because of their race or ethnicity. They are dying at higher rates because of the social inequities caused by systemic racial injustices. The problem is, and always has been, racism. Racism is a public health crisis.

The MCHD Health Equity Office (HEO) wants to address this persistent issue and help create a community where everyone can live their best, healthiest life. To do this, we must address the connection between race and health that is ingrained in our society and structures. Our community has made great strides, yet a great deal of work continues.

With the joint efforts of community leaders, partners, and stakeholders, the MCHD HEO is working to declare Racism a Public Health Crisis. The Office is defining the problem in our community, collecting data on race and health, connecting with partners, and developing a resolution to present to local leaders.

To learn how to get involved, contact the Mobile County Health Department Health Equity Office at 251-405-4535.

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This media product was supported by funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, under 1 NH75OT000104-01-00. The content of this media product is that of the authors and does not necessarily stand for the official position of or endorsement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

MAWSS reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow

April 4, 2022

MAWSS reports Sanitary Sewer Overflow

MOBILE, Ala. — Mobile Area Water & Sewer System (MAWSS) responded to a Sanitary Sewer Overflow on April 2 at 4300 Dauphin Island Parkway.

Approximately 1,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed as a result of a lift station failure. The SSO reached Perch Creek. MAWSS crews have restored the power and made the necessary repairs at this location.

Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when encountering any standing water that may have accumulated because of this overflow. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Area residents should take precautions when using Perch Creek for recreational purposes because of this overflow. All seafood harvested in this general area should be thoroughly cooked before eating. People should wash hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.

National Public Health Week set for April 4-10

April 1, 2022

National Public Health Week set for April 4-10

MOBILE, Alabama — Since the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week (NPHW) in 1995, communities have observed the time as an opportunity to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the public’s health.

At the Mobile County Health Department, NPHW will be observed this year from April 4-10. The theme in 2022 is “Public Health is Where You Are.” MCHD and Family Health — its primary care division — will celebrate these daily themes:

Monday, April 4 is “Racism: A Public Health Crisis”: Racist inequities in health care, income, housing, education have widened during the COVID-19 pandemic, harming health and well-being.

Tuesday, April 5 is “Public Health Workforce: Essential to our Future”: The public health workforce is essential to our future.

Wednesday, April 6 is “Community: Collaboration and Resilience”: We must work together to improve housing, education, food, transportation, and the environment to support equity, resilience and the health of our communities and the people who live, work, play and learn there.

Thursday, April 7 is “World Health Day: Health is a Human Right”: Celebrate World Health Day this National Public Health Week by supporting continued funding for U.S. global health efforts.

Friday, April 8 is “Accessibility: Closing the Health Equity Gap”: We can close the health equity gap by reducing health disparities in health insurance, increasing physical accessibility to care, improving availability of appropriate care, and building more inclusive public health programs and communities.

Saturday, April 9 is “Climate Change: Taking Action for Equity”: While climate change hurts everyone, people of color and those with lower incomes experience greater health harms.

Sunday, April 10 is “Mental Wellness: Redefining the Meaning of Health”: Each year, one in five Americans will experience mental illness.

In 2021, MCHD established a Health Equity Office to address health disparities in Mobile County. Members of the team will appear in videos throughout NPHW to discuss the daily themes, as well as be the guests on the next Wellness Wednesday episode slated for April 6 on MCHD’s social media channels.

Public health saves money, improves our quality of life, helps children thrive and reduces human suffering. To learn more about the celebration, visit www.nphw.org.

Prichard updates report on Sanitary Sewer Overflows

April 1, 2022

Prichard updates report on Sanitary Sewer Overflows

MOBILE, Ala. — Prichard Water Works & Sewer Board has reported on numerous Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO) caused by heavy rains on March 30.

The initial two events that ended were reported on Thursday. These were at the intersection of Patricia Avenue and Whistler Street (29,000 estimated gallons) and at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Wood Street (26,000 estimated gallons). These overflows eventually reached Gumtree Branch.

Prichard officials announced this morning that the third SSO has now concluded. This took place at the intersection of Chin Street and Butts Street. The estimated volume lost was 288,000 gallons. This SSO eventually reached Three Mile Creek.

Dr. Kevin P. Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, advises area residents to take precautions when coming into contact with any standing water that may have accumulated as a result of these overflows. Those who have come into direct contact with untreated sewage are advised to wash their hands and clothing thoroughly.

Area residents should take precautions when using Three Mile Creek and Gumtree Branch for recreational purposes because of these overflows. All seafood harvested in this general area should be thoroughly cooked before eating. People should wash hands after cleaning seafood and before preparing food.

COVID-19 rapid tests coming to Semmes Health Center

April 1, 2022

COVID-19 rapid tests coming to Semmes Health Center

MOBILE, Ala. — The COVID-19 Response Team with the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) will soon expand its services at the Public Health Response Unit on the campus of the Semmes Health Center (3810 Wulff Road East). Instead of being there one day a week, starting on April 4, the team will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide COVID-19 vaccinations and rapid testing with no out-of-pocket costs.

From the start, MCHD has been providing a variety of COVID-19 vaccines in Semmes. Now, the COVID-19 Response Team is adding rapid testing by appointment.

Clients can still walk-in for COVID-19 vaccinations. However, individual appointments must be made for rapid testing online at this link — https://appointments.mchd.org. Each client must present proof of their appointment when they arrive at the Semmes Health Center.

Regarding vaccines, clients may select from either Pfizer (adult or pediatric), Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). The vaccinations and rapid testing will occur in MCHD’s new mobile medical trailer called the “Public Health Response Unit” parked at the Semmes Health Center.

It is a 2022 ATC Quest Custom Medical Trailer. It is the first of two identical units. They were secured with the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) funds that were passed through the Alabama Department of Public Health to MCHD.

The COVID-19 Response Team will continue to provide walk-in vaccines and appointment-only rapid testing at its Festival Centre (Suite 101-A) site at the corner of Airport Boulevard and Montlimar Drive in West Mobile. Those services are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Prevention & Wellness directorate is one of the cornerstones of the traditional health services of MCHD. Since 1816, public health in Mobile County has been one of education, prevention, and the promotion of wellness.

The mobile medical trailers will help MCHD obtain one of its primary goals, which is to encourage health interventions by providing collaborative and informative education to the community. Disease prevention, community resource services, health promotion, and health education are many of the services provided by Prevention & Wellness.

To learn the latest on MCHD’s vaccine events, visit www.MCHDcares.com or call 251-410-MCHD (6243).

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