Love is all around us–at least love for public health, that is! We’re nearing the end of 2018, and that means it’s time to look back at our department’s hard work with partners throughout the year for a healthier community. Peruse our (not exhaustive) list of achievements, but before you do, take a few moments to watch a video inspired by the 2003 holiday-themed romantic comedy, Love Actually, that celebrates our staff and our mission – and has a little fun along the way.
(Never seen Love Actually? Don’t worry, our video is still worth the watch.)
Just a few things that made us proud this year
Protecting family planning:
- Our Family Planning program successfully defended key programs threatened by federal policy changes.
Addressing opioid use disorder:
- Our Community Health Services division secured funding to expand treatment for people with opioid use disorder. Our Jail Health Services program also took steps to expand treatment availability by implementing the first phase of a project to maintain continuity of buprenorphine treatment while people are detained. Additionally, we worked with a local comic artist to develop a campaign encouraging people to get rid of unused and expired medications and use our local drop-boxes.
Supporting TB locally and statewide:
- Thanks to Foundational Public Health Services funding, our TB Control Program was able to mobilize outside of King County and support a large investigation in Spokane.
Screening and treating for hepatitis C:
- The Hepatitis C ‘Test and Cure’ Program markedly improved HCV screening and treatment at coalition partner sites, resulting in a tripling in the number of baby boomer patients screened and greater than tenfold increase of those treated.
Making data powerful and accessible:
- Our team of data scientists and epidemiologists stayed busy, developing a dashboard about the relationship between health and housing and Community Health Needs Assessment for non-profit hospitals, which provided 160 population health indicators and a special focus report on the LGBTQ population.
Educating parents, teachers and partners about tobacco and marijuana:
- Our Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Unit promoted awareness about the increase in vaping among youth as well as emerging issues related to marijuana use.
Preventing firearm injury and death:
- After receiving King County Council funding, we revitalized the Lock It Up program to promote the safe storage of firearms in our community. Our Health Officer, Dr. Jeff Duchin, also worked with colleagues in local and state healthcare professional associations to develop a joint statement expressing a commitment to reducing injury and death from gun violence.
Preventing lead poisoning in children:
- The Community Toxics program, funded by Best Starts for Kids and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), partnered with King County Medical Society to pass a resolution on childhood lead poisoning The resolution, which subsequently passed the Washington State Medical Association, calls for more consistent childhood blood lead screening and more robust lead poisoning prevention activities.
Training a more diverse workforce:
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) launched the region’s first Future Women in Fire and EMS Academy, which is one piece of the Division’s approach to increase emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic and EMS Division workforce diversity. And, with help from a federal grant, the Office of Nursing has helped train the next generation of ambulatory care nurses.
Originally posted on December 21, 2018.