A Message from our Health Officer
WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED—FOR LIFE
Everyone knows about health care—the doctors, nurses and hospitals that take care of patients. But few really understand "public health," because our work takes place behind the scenes. Our patient is the entire community. We focus on preventing illness and injury so people in our community can live up to their full potential. Here are the five key things we do on your behalf:
WE PREVENT THE SPREAD OF DISEASE
- Public health has eliminated smallpox and polio in the U.S. and brought measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, and other infectious diseases under control. We’re still working to eliminate TB, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and many more infectious disease threats.
- We are ready to protect your health in case of an epidemic, a natural or a human disaster. We quickly identify the effects on human health and lead the medical community’s response, coordinating the delivery of needed drugs, supplies, and vaccinations.
WE CREATE SAFER LIVING ENVIRONMENTS
- We make sure you won’t become ill or injured because of problems in your environment. We make sure drinking water wells and septic systems are built right and working properly. We monitor all kinds of impacts to Kitsap County’s groundwater to make sure that water quality isn’t at risk. We constantly monitor shoreline water quality to make sure toxins or bacteria won’t make you sick when you swim, fish or harvest shellfish.
- We make sure your food is safe. We teach safe food handling everywhere food is sold in the county. If illness caused by contaminated food occurs, we investigate to find the source and stop it, plus we alert the community, so those who purchased the contaminated food will know about the problem.
- We work with you to reduce the hazardous waste from homes, businesses, drug labs or other sources that can pollute our neighborhoods, and we assist with cleanup efforts.
WE IDENTIFY & MEASURE HEALTH PROBLEMS
- We use multiple data sources to find out how healthy our community is and what its most critical health problems are. We then partner with individuals and organizations in our community and use scientifically proven methods to try and reduce or eliminate the problems.
- We set goals and targets for our work, monitor how well we are doing, and report publicly on our progress.
WE CREATE POLICIES THAT SUPPORT HEALTHIER LIVING
- Public health scientists proved that second-hand smoke is harmful. Now laws exist that ensure you don’t have to be around it when you shop, dine, or attend public events.
- We work with schools, employers and community organizations to make sure everyone has access to information about how to live a healthy and safe life. For example, our education about the latest research on safe sleeping for babies has greatly reduced deaths due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- We coordinate a local coalition of school, law enforcement, faith, government, business, medical and other members who are focused on reducing alcohol, drug and tobacco use among our young people in Kitsap County.
- We help make the healthy thing to do the easy thing to do. We advise local government on ways that they can use planning policy to make it easier for all of us to be more physically active and eat more healthy foods. Having more bike and walking paths and healthier food in schools is proven to reduce the biggest health threat that exists today: obesity.
WE IMPROVE HEALTHCARE ACCESS
- We identify health inequalities and work to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have access to critical health care services.
- We work with the local medical community to improve access to pregnancy care and mental health care for people with little or no insurance.
- Our maternal-child health nurses visit pregnant women with low incomes to make sure they have the support systems needed to deliver a healthy baby and raise a healthy child. This helps prevent high health care and education costs in the future.
You’ll learn more about what we’re doing on your behalf on the various pages of this website. The important thing to know is that we’ve got you covered—from birth to old age, all day and every day.
Susan Turner, MD, MPH, MS