State Health Commissioner to Highlight Local Public Health, Governor's Health Reforms During 8-County Visit for National Public Health Week

Makes Stops in Tompkins, Ontario, Livingston, Steuben, Chemung, Onondaga and Jefferson Counties

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 6, 2009) – State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today embarked on an 8-county trip to highlight the work of local public health agencies and discuss the historic health care reforms contained in Governor David A. Paterson's new state budget agreement. (See attached schedule).

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.

"A recession poses new threats to the public's health as families with reduced incomes face additional challenges maintaining health insurance, finding safe housing, and obtaining affordable, healthy foods," said Dr. Daines. "Governor Paterson's budget measures that expand eligibility for public health insurance, increase funding to food pantries, increase support for lead abatement in older housing, and support community obesity prevention are just some of the ways New York is addressing these challenges."

Dr. Daines cited the need for increased emphasis on prevention in New York's communities and noted that Governor 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 Prevention Agenda toward the Healthiest State, which provides 10 public health priorities 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.

Dr. Daines urged New Yorkers to use National Public Health Week as an opportunity to thank some of New York's 20,000 public health professionals, who include public health nurses, restaurant and camp inspectors, drinking water inspectors, health educators, and experts in communicable and environmental disease prevention, control and treatment.

In 2008, New York's 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.

See Commissioner's Attached Public Health Week Schedule

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

Commissioner Daines' Public Health Week Schedule

Monday, April 6

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 of 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 14850; 2nd stop - Cayuga Medical Center, 101 Dates Drive, Ithaca NY 14850

Tuesday, April 7

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. His remarks will focus on new budget measures that will increase access to prevention, obesity prevention, local health care planning, and initiatives to address healthcare workforce needs in rural areas.
    • 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 at 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 8

Corning, Steuben County

  • 9:00 a.m. Focus On Community Health & Obesity Prevention
    • Commissioner Daines will discuss Corning Hospital's community prevention initiatives including childhood obesity prevention, and how these initiatives fit within Governor Paterson's new health reforms and obesity prevention agenda.
    • Location: Corning Hospital, 176 Denison Parkway East, Corning NY

Elmira, Chemung County

  • 1:45 p.m. Focus On Safe Food Preparation & Obesity Prevention
    • Commissioner Daines will participate in a demonstration of a food service inspection and will discuss Governor Paterson's proposed Healthy Schools Act which would fight childhood obesity by establishing nutritional guidelines on foods served in schools and ban the sale of junk food and soda during the school day.
    • Location: Ernie Davis Middle School, 610 Lake Street, Elmira, New York 14901

Thursday April 9

Syracuse, Onondaga County

  • 8:15 a.m. Focus On Childhood Obesity Prevention
    • As the guest speaker for Syracuse University's "Thursday Morning Round Table," Commissioner Daines will highlight challenges and effective approaches to addressing the obesity epidemic in New York .
    • 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