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History of the Health Department: 1990's

1990
A local regulation was established for vaccinations to be required for entrance to pre-schools and child care centers. This was the first regulation of its kind in Northern Kentucky.
 
1991
With the passage of legislation allowing for independent health departments, the Northern Kentucky District Health Department declared itself independent, which meant that it could operate independently from the Kentucky Department for Public Health in Frankfort. Only Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky health departments operate independently.
 
Many programs, like WIC, are regulated and funded by the state, but independent health departments can offer additional programs that are not mandated statewide.
 
Independence also comes into play for staffing and hiring. Independent health departments can set their own salaries and position classifications. In an independent health department, the director reports to the independent board of health. The board of health for the independent health departments is the ruling body. The official date the Northern Kentucky District Board approved the plan was June 26, 1991. By July 25, bylaws had been approved, and a new Personnel Board was established.
 
A building committee was formed to work on a new site for the health education and environmental staff.
 
The Health Department began actively endorsing Comprehensive School Health, which followed eight goals of concentration: health education, parent/community involvement, health-care service, nutrition service, health promotion for staff and parents, healthy school environments, physical education and counseling, psychological and social services.
 
1992The Health Department's district office in Edgewood, Ky.
The Health Department became a smoke-free workplace on January 1, 1992.
 
Toebben Construction was hired to build the new Health Education and Environmental Center, located at 610 Medical Village Drive  in Edgewood. The budget for the project was set at $1.48 million. The building was dedicated on June 26, 1993. The building now houses the Administrative and Environmental staff.
 
The Health Department began the Assessment Protocol for Excellence in Public Health (APEX-PH) strategic planning process developed by the National Association of County Health Officials.  
 
The Health Department’s first comprehensive media campaign was launched. It targeted teenagers and asked them to “Stop-Think, The Decision is Yours.” Teens were encouraged to call a hotline with questions about sex, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, or just to talk. Billboards, bus cards and radio spots highlighted the campaign.  
 
1993
On July 20, Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones proclaimed the week of July 25-31 as “Local Health Department Week” in Kentucky. The Northern Kentucky Board of Health adopted an updated mission statement that addressed a changing role in public health. It read “Linking people with resources to promote, achieve and maintain a healthier community.”
 
Between January and March, 10 cases of shigella were identified in a day care located in Florence. In response, Health Department staff provided educational materials to employees on the proper use of hand washing, etc.
 
APEX-PH, a planning process developed by the National Association for City and County Health Officials, was implemented by the Health Department. The Organizational Capacity Assessment, Part I of the APEX-PH process, identified the following priority areas: Community Relations, Community Assessment, Public Policy Development, Personnel Management and Program Management. The resulting action plan established the Community Health Committee, as well as created the position of Public Information Specialist, established an Information Systems Manager position, changed processes in personnel for auditing and exit interviews, and lead to the development of organizational charts. The Community Health Committee continued to be active until November of 2003.
 
The Health Department pursued sites in Independence and Alexandria to expand WIC services. The selected sites opened early in 1994.
 
Under direction from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Department of Nursing and the Department of Nutrition and Chronic Disease were integrated into one Department of Clinical Services with a new director. Two new departments, the Department of Epidemiology and the Department of WIC and Special Projects, were created to accommodate the two directors who previously shared what was to become the new integrated department.
 
The Health Department established a family living skills program to promote optimal wellness, self-esteem, responsible decision making, and healthy attitudes and behaviors among children, adolescents and adults.
 
The Board updated regulation mandating that all children attending day care centers, nursery schools or preschools be immunized in accordance with the schedule of immunizations put forth by the Kentucky Cabinet for Human Services. It applied to all children in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties.
 
On October 23, health officials declared an end to a seven-week whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic that struck more than 300 in Greater Cincinnati. Thirty-one confirmed cases were reported in Northern Kentucky.
 
1994
There was a hepatitis A outbreak in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. More than 1,000 people were exposed to the virus, which stemmed from food prepared by a Covington restaurant and catering business. Out of 90 confirmed cases, 59 were in the Health Department’s district. An employee of the catering business was diagnosed on October 25 with the virus, which is an infection of the liver.
 
Kentucky State Representatives requested that the Health Department support House Bill 574, which amended the Kentucky code to require a three cent per pack increase on cigarettes sold or warehoused in Kentucky, as well as add a five cent excise tax on the other tobacco products in order to encourage the state to grow crops other than tobacco.
 
The District’s Personnel Board recommended that the District Board create the position of Public Health Physician (this later became the full-time position of medical director) and also to allow flexible scheduling and pay for overtime. They pushed for a salary increase.
 
A syphilis epidemic was recorded, with 530 cases between January 1 and July 15 in the Greater Cincinnati area. It was predicted that cases would exceed 1,000 by the end of the year. The epidemic was strongly linked to drug use.
 
1995
The Health Department’s Health Ambassadors received an award from the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services. The Ambassadors were a group of senior citizens who volunteered to teach health skills to preschool children in classrooms throughout Northern Kentucky.
 
After only a few years in operation, the Alexandria and Independence WIC sites were closed.
 
The Health Department adopted a new vision statement and core values: R.I.S.E.: Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence. The vision process resulted in the “Vision of Public Health in Northern Kentucky,” a strategic plan for the Health Department.
 
1996
President Bill Clinton declared April 3-9 “National Public Health Week.”
 
Through repeating APEX-PH Part I strategic planning process, the Health Department developed the Grants Manager position and a computer system plan, established quality assurance teams and developed strategies to improve communication with the District Board of Health.
 
The Community Health Committee continued its work by developing the “Community Health Plan 1996” addressing the top five priorities in Northern Kentucky: low birth weight (teen pregnancy), family violence and abuse, lack of childhood immunizations, substance abuse, and access to healthcare.
 
The Grant County Health Center on Barnes Road nearly doubled the size of its existing building, adding 3,482 square feet to the existing 4,682 foot building along with 30 more parking spaces and remodeling the existing center. An open house was held on July 28, 1996.
 
The Health Department began a program to educate homeowners about the dangers of exposure to radon gas.
 
The Health Department’s first Web site was established.
 
1997
The Health Department helped respond to severe flooding in Falmouth, Ky., located in the neighboring Three Rivers Health District. Environmental staff went door-to-door distributing information on flood cleanup. Clinical and Health Education and Planning staff monitored for disease, provided education on disease prevention and provided more than 5,000 doses of tetanus vaccine.
 
The Health Department was selected by the National Association of County and City Health Officials as a pilot site for the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE-EH) strategic planning process. A subcommittee of the Community Health Committee was formed to utilize the PACE-EH environmental assessment.
 
Health Department staff asks the District Board of Health to ban concealed weapons from Health Department buildings following the state legalization of concealed weapons.  
 
The Health Department Web site moves to its current URL: http://www.nkyhealth.org.
 
1998
The Health Department recommended that the fluoride supplement program offered at schools in all four counties be eliminated because of the wide availability of fluoride in food, toothpaste and in most areas, water. Students had been taking fluoride mouth rinses weekly.
 
Because of Board concern about its use, the Health Department decided not to provide emergency contraception services at the local health centers. The state health department then contracted with another agency to provide these services for Northern Kentucky women.  
 
1999
The Health Department began discussing closing one of two health centers in Kenton County. Health officials wanted to close the clinic at 912 Scott St. in Covington and relocate services to health centers in Boone and Campbell counties. The 912 building was officially closed on April 30. Most of the services provided were moved just down the street to the Dressman Health Center, named after former Kenton County Judge James A. Dressman, at 634 Scott St.
 
The District Office moved from Park Avenue in Newport to Medical Village Drive in Edgewood.
 
The first computer network was built.
 
The HANDS, Health Access and Nurturing Development, program was established to provide education and support to first-time parents. The program is contracted out to Every Child Succeeds for residents of Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties, and is provided by Health Department staff to residents of Grant County.
 
2000's
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