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History of the Health Department: 1980's

The WIC caseload reached 2,379 and the program was moved to the Maternal Child Health Center at 12 E. Fifth St. in Newport. The Northern Kentucky WIC program was selected to take part in a national survey to determine the benefits of providing WIC cereals with high iron contents. Clients would be part of a national control group.

On August 18, 1981, the Boone County Fiscal Court declared that Boone County would join with Campbell and Kenton as part of the Northern Kentucky District Health Department.

A month later, on September 28, Grant County joined with Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties as part of the District Health Department.

January marked the first time income guidelines were used for the WIC program. Before this, anyone at medical or nutritional risk could benefit from the free service.
The Health Department began offering family planning services on April 15, 1981.

On March 24, the Board moved that the District office be relocated to 401 Park Ave. in Newport, a building owned by the St. John’s United Church of Christ. At $1 per year for 15 years, Board members strongly encouraged the relocation. The Health Department remained in the building through 1999. The renovation to the building at 401 Park Ave. started in August. On October 5 and 6, the District office moved to the new location.

The Three Rivers District Health Department met on October 12 to discuss a possible merger with the Northern Kentucky District. The merger did not take place.

The Kentucky Diabetes Control program was established in Northern Kentucky.

After a hepatitis epidemic in Fort Mitchell, the Board expressed a desire to implement a program to increase the knowledge of food service for restaurant personnel and management. Morrell Raleigh, Environmental Health Educator at the time, assumed responsibility for educating food operators on hygienic food handling procedures.

The Health Department came together on August 6 to address the problem of teenage pregnancy and established three initial goals: 1) to organize a community coalition specifically to address the problem of the increase in teenage pregnancy; 2) to evaluate existing Comprehensive Family Life Programs and school curriculums; and 3) to develop ideas for public awareness.

Health Department nurses received requests to become more actively involved in the assessment and treatment of jail inmates. Some Board members expressed concern about the safety of the nurses. Later, in 1985, it was concluded that nurses wouldn’t be involved with jails except in Grant County, where a nurse would work with a contracted physician.

The Health Department purchased a building at 634 Scott St. in Covington, which would later house the Kenton County maternal and child health programs. The services offered here included WIC, prenatal, and well child for mothers and infants.

Food handlers’ classes began for restaurant staff.

1985Food inspection in the 1980s
The Health Department requested permission to post food service inspection scores on the premises of restaurants. Later, it was decided that posting scores could be misleading to the consumer because it reflects the sanitation of the restaurant only at the time of the inspection. Scores, along with an explanation of the inspection process, are now posted on the Health Department Web site.

Cincinnati city officials required Cincinnati restaurant proprietors to assign designated smoking areas and post signs stating so. A regional environmental group, W.A.S. (Water, Air and Soil), proposed that the Northern Kentucky District Board of Health take the lead and regulate public smoking as well. In October, the Health Department established a Public Smoking Ordinance Committee. After much discussion, the Board decided to wait and see the response from Cincinnati’s ordinance and not implement one of its own.  

The ADAPT, Age Defensively Adopt Prevention Today, program was created. It was a locally funded health promotion program whose target audience was people 55 years and over in the counties of Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton. In the first four months, 849 patient contacts were provided for Boone County citizens 55 and older.

December 4 marked Judge Dressman’s last meeting with the Board after 13 years of dedication to the Health Department. The Kenton County Health Center is named after him.

The Health Department purchased a building at 2388 Crisler Ave. in Fort Mitchell. Now Grandview Drive, the building currently the Administrative Annex.

Kentucky had the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the nation at 18.4 percent. The Board of Health began to strongly encourage school personnel in Northern Kentucky to establish family life education curriculum in their schools for grades kindergarten through 12. The Board also pushed for the principals of these schools to train their teachers as well.

On March 19, the Board adopted a resolution for Northern Kentucky schools to promote early substance abuse prevention and education in their schools through appropriate curriculum. The Health Department began strongly promoting curricula such as “Take Charge,” for grades K-6 and “Dual,” for grades 7 and 8, which focused on tobacco, alcohol and drug use, abuse and prevention.

The Board passed a resolution to strongly encourage restaurant and nursing home managers to create and enforce a non-smoking area of their establishments.

 At this time, there were 122 staff members at the Health Department.

The Board updated its bylaws.

The Board considered offering primary care as part of a statewide plan endorsed by the Kentucky Public Health Association. The plan was never implemented.
The Health Department began offering family planning and sexually transmitted disease services at Northern Kentucky University.

The Health Department adopted an AIDS policy for testing and began dealing with HIV in schools and other public places. It promoted education and control.

The Health Department’s diabetes program was nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association as a quality education program. It was the first local health department to gain this recognition.

The Boone County Health Center moved from Woodspoint Drive to a new facility at 7505 Burlington Pike in Florence. It was named after Earl Parker Robinson, a deceased resident of Boone County. Upon his death, Robinson left the BCHC half a million dollars in a trust to be spent on renovation, expansion and upkeep of the health center. The center still bears his name.

The Troubadours youth peer education program began giving presentations on family living and sexuality at local schools.

The Board began discussing legislation on becoming an independent district.

A social worker was hired for the AIDS program.

In March, the Health Department assumed control of the Northern Kentucky Air Quality Board “V.I.P.” Vehicle Inspection Program. The office was located at 1885 Dixie Highway in Fort Wright, and served Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. The Air Quality Board was responsible for vehicle emissions control testing. It was established because Northern Kentucky was facing sanctions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the form of withheld highway funds earmarked for the upgrade of the I-75 “death hill” curves if it did not improve the air quality. In 1991, a new state law allowed the state to assume responsibility for the vehicle emissions program and the Health Department closed the V.I.P. office.

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