Another Year in the Books!
It is so true, that the older you get, the faster time seems to fly! I cannot believe that my second year at the health department is over and we already are hitting the ground running into 2016.
Public Health is always changing and those that have worked in this field quickly learn to adapt and soldier ahead all the while providing the communities they serve with the needed public health services to continue to Prevent, Promote and Protect our citizens. This year has been no different. The Harrison County Health Department remains steadfast in immunizing our population to assure the protection against communicable diseases remains a priority. Harrison County has a high immunization rate which means our population is protected from many preventable diseases. With the Ebola scare in 2014 and still into 2015, the MDHSS has provided us an opportunity to directly engage in preparedness activities at the community, county and region levels. We are working with the other health departments in Region H to improve our response to infectious disease outbreaks such as Ebola. Many activities, exercises and information sharing will occur this year in regards to Ebola preparedness and it will challenge us as a health department and region to come together and serve the needs of our communities cohesively and effectively.
2016 will prove to be an exciting challenge for the health department. We will be embarking on a large renovation to the public health portion of our existing building. Over the past 36 years, the health department has seen a lot of changes with services but little in terms of updates to the building. The building has served a great purpose to the community and we are in a position to be able to reinvest money back in to the structure of the building to better serve the needs of everyone. We will continue to provide all public health services during the renovation and information will be shared with the public once the project is in full swing.
As we reflect on this past year and look to a new and exciting 2016, I encourage everyone to focus on the positive. 2015 had many highs and lows that challenged us as Americans and more importantly, as compassionate human beings. As I approach another birthday, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past 2 years and my health. I obviously am not the person I was physically 2 years ago. I have always been an athlete regardless of my size. I am competitive and at times, to a fault. I set hefty goals for myself and when I don’t obtain them, I fall into bad eating habits and stop exercising. I have had several major health issues this past year, one which needed surgery, the other, a great chiropractor who made me hurt some days to the point I wanted to cry but the healing is beginning and I realize that my lifestyle must change. I want to be a role model for my kids and show them what a consistent, health lifestyle means. I preach to them daily about diet and exercise but I need to model for them what this looks like. Both my boys are athletes, one just beginning his years of playing, and the oldest starting a new chapter in his life moving to the collegiate level of football. I want them to learn to take care of their bodies because we only get one in this life! I am committed to becoming a healthier me in 2016 and for years to come, and I want to be a positive representative as a public health employee. I am also committed to helping my staff and community members to reach their health goals in 2016 (and here is where my competitive side will shine!)
In closing, I leave you with this. If you are a sports fan and tune in to ESPN each day, you will know that Stuart Scott, an ESPN sports analyst, lost his 7 year battle to cancer in early January of 2015. He left a powerful message, one I try to remember each day as I hit the ground running. He said, “And in the end, it’s not whether you live or die – but by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live.”
God Bless each and every one of you. And remember, Public Health: Better Health. Better Missouri.
Courtney Cross, Administrator