State Health Commissioner to Highlight Local Public Health During 8-County Visit for National Public Health Week

Cites Need for Collaborative Efforts

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 3, 2009) - Kicking off National Public Health Week, April 6-10, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today announced an 8-county trip to highlight the work of local public health agencies. (See attached schedule).

Speaking today at a New York State Public Health Association conference in Albany, Commissioner Daines said National Public Health Week is a good time to recognize the work being done by public health workers but also to refocus those efforts to address special challenges to the public's health during difficult economic times.

"When public health works, residents may not observe the results, because public health is about prevention," said Dr. Daines. "But every day public health professionals are working in our communities providing immunizations, investigating and controlling disease outbreaks, inspecting restaurants, testing drinking water supplies, and providing education on how the public can stay healthy by avoiding tobacco, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and protecting themselves against communicable and environmental disease threats."

Dr. Daines said a recession poses new threats to the public's health, as families with reduced incomes face additional challenges finding safe housing and obtaining access to healthy foods. "Working with limited resources, we will need to think creatively and strategically to help New Yorkers protect their health during tough economic times," he said.

Dr. Daines urged New Yorkers to use National Public Health Week as an opportunity to thank some of the 20,000 public health professionals working across the state to keep communities healthy, including public health nurses, restaurant and camp inspectors, health educators, and disease detectives.

In 2008, the public health workforce:

  • Investigated over 86,000 cases of communicable disease, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease cases.
  • Investigated 1,032 health care-associated outbreaks of diseases in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Investigated numerous communicable disease outbreaks and issued 63 statewide alerts to county health departments related to disease outbreaks.
  • Analyzed nearly a million samples of water to monitor drinking water quality.
  • Conducted over 39,000 inspections of registered tobacco vendors to assure compliance with standards, and took over 3,500 enforcement actions for sales to minors.
  • Conducted over 150,000 food protection inspections in restaurants and institutional kitchens.
  • Inspected over 10,000 swimming pools and bathing beaches and 5,000 summer camps.
  • Reviewed childhood immunization policies and coverage in hundreds of physician offices and clinics to ensure that children are getting all the immunizations they need to stay healthy.
  • Conducted 18,000 anonymous rapid HIV tests in community-based organizations, local health departments and other settings.

Dr. Daines cited the need for increased emphasis on prevention and noted that Governor David Paterson's budget agreement includes dramatic reforms to the state's health care system that will increase New Yorkers' access to primary and preventive care.

He called on local public health agencies, health care providers, and other community leaders and organizations to collaborate to address public health priorities in their communities. Last year the State Health Department launched the State's new Prevention Agenda toward the Healthiest State, which provides 10 public health priority with specific goals for improving outcomes in each area. The Initiative calls on community partners to conduct local community health planning efforts, select public health priorities from the Prevention Agenda, and work locally and collaboratively to address them. (see http://www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/prevention_agenda/ )

NOTE: News media are invited to attend any of the visits in Commissioner's Daines' Public Health Week schedule below.

Commissioner Daines' Public Health Week Schedule

Monday, April 6th

Ithaca, Tompkins County

12:15 p.m. FOCUS ON OBESITY PREVENTION

Participate in demonstration of research conducted on consumer behavior related to eating patterns at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.

Location: Warren Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

2 p.m. FOCUS ON TOBACCO CONTROL

Commissioner Daines will present the Tompkins County Health Department, the City of Ithaca, and Tobacco Free Tompkins with a "Public Health Excellence Award" for collaborative efforts in tobacco control including a proposed new ordinance that would prohibit smoking on Ithaca Commons.

Location: Ithaca Commons, Bernie Milton Pavilion, Ithaca, NY 14850

3:30 p.m. FOCUS ON PHYSICIAN RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION

Dr. Daines will stop by to congratulate OB-GYN Associates of Ithaca, which has been named a recipient of $250,000 in "Doctors Across New York" grants from a new state program that provides incentives to assist in recruiting and retaining physicians in rural and urban areas with physician shortages.

Location: 20 Arrowwood Dr. Ithaca, NY 14850

4 p.m. FOCUS ON STROKE AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION

Commissioner Daines will review Cayuga Medical Center's stroke prevention and treatment program. As a Designated Stroke Center Cayuga is able to provide fast, effective stroke treatment and promotes community awareness on the signs and symptoms of stroke using FAST (face, arms, speech, time) materials.

Location: 1st stop -- Cayuga Center for Health Living (Island Health), 310 Taughannock Blvd, Ithaca, NY 148502nd stop -- Cayuga Medical Center, 101 Dates Drive, Ithaca NY 14850

Tuesday, April 7th

Geneva, Ontario County

9:45 a.m. FOCUS ON PREVENTION AGENDA AND RURAL HEALTH

Commissioner Daines will deliver a keynote address at the NYS Association for Rural Health

Location: Ramada Lakefront Hotel, 41 Lake Front Dr., Geneva, NY 14456

11:15 a.m. FOCUS ON PRIMARY CARE & PREVENTION

Commissioner Daines will highlight state budget reforms that increase investment in primary and preventive care at community health centers, hospital outpatient clinics, and private physician practices.

Location: Geneva Community Health Center, 603 Washington Street,Geneva, NY 14456

Mt. Morris, Livingston County

3:30 p.m. FOCUS ON PUBLIC HEALTH & HEALTH CARE COLLABORATIVE PLANNING

Commissioner Daines will discuss collaborative local health planning with members of the Genesee Valley Health Partnership Board, a group of public health, health care, and business leaders focusing on collaborative efforts to make Livingston County the healthiest county in the state.

Location: Livingston County Health Department, 2 Murray Hill Dr., 3rd Floor, Mt. Morris, New York 14510

5:30 p.m. FOCUS ON HEALTHY EATING & GOOD NUTRITION

Commissioner Daines will address attendees at the "Taste of Livingston County," an annual local Public Health Week activity in which restaurants showcase healthy foods that taste good.

Location: Genesee River Restaurant and Reception Center, 134 North Main St.,,Mount Morris, NY 14510

Wednesday April 8th

Corning, Steuben County

9:00 a.m. FOCUS ON COMMUNITY HEALTH, OBESITY PREVENTION

Commissioner Daines will discuss Corning Hospital's community prevention initiatives, including efforts to address childhood obesity.

Location: Corning Hospital, 176 Denison Parkway East, Corning, New York 14830

Elmira, Chemung County

1:45 p.m. FOCUS ON SAFE FOOD PREPARATION

Commissioner Daines will see a demonstration of a food service inspection, which will highlight the sanitary practices restaurants and other food establishments must follow to meet state sanitary code standards.

Location: Ernie Davis Middle School, 610 Lake Street, Elmira, New York 14901

Thursday April 9th

Syracuse, Onondaga County

8:15 a.m. FOCUS ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION

Commissioner Daines will highlight challenges and effective approaches to addressing the obesity epidemic in New York as the guest speaker for Syracuse University's "Thursday Morning Round Table."

Location: University's Drumlins Country Club, The Banquet Center, The Nottingham Room, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse, NY, 13224

Watertown, Jefferson County

2:00 p.m. FOCUS ON PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY HEALTH PLANNING

Commissioner Daines will discuss collaborative planning to address local public health priorities when he meets with the Jefferson County Public Health Network, 531 Mead Street, Watertown, NY 13601