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History of the Health Department: 2000's

The Health Department established the annual Award of Excellence in Public Health to honor organizations, groups and/or individuals in Northern Kentucky who are dedicated to the advancement of public health efforts.

With support from U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, the Medicare Nutrition Therapy Amendment Act of 2001 was passed. It provided Medicare Part B coverage of Medical Nutrition Therapy for those patients with diabetes or kidney disease.

The Board of Health formed a new committee, the Human Sexuality Education Committee, to study the information provided to Health Department clients.

Northern Kentucky was selected by the National Association for City and County Health Officials as one of nine national demonstration sites for a new community assessment and strategic planning tool called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships, or MAPP. The Community Health Committee continued with this process to the development of the “Public Health System Improvement Plan 2003.”

An environmentalists traps mosquitoes to check for West Nile VirusThe first Smoke-Free Day of Dining was held on November 15, with 10 restaurants going smoke-free for the day.
The first child fatality review team is established in Boone County to investigate child fatalities and use the information to prevent future deaths. Teams are later formed in Campbell and Kenton counties.

A shigella outbreak occurred, with 306 cases in Northern Kentucky and 2,000 in Cincinnati.

The District Board decided to offer only sexual abstinence until marriage curricula in local schools. The “Choosing the Best,” program is selected, and is implemented beginning in 2002.

West Nile Virus monitoring program began with surveillance of mosquitoes and birds.

In response to the events of September 11 and the anthrax scare, the Health Department developed an updated version of its Disaster Response and Recovery Plan. Later, additional staff are hired to address disaster planning and preparedness.

In January, the Boone County Local Board of Health approved funding for its first school-based health centers at Collins Elementary and R.A. Jones Middle School in Boone County. The school-based centers provided basic physicals, immunizations, screening tests, acute health care, case management and health education.

On June 19, the District Board considered a motion to discontinue programs funded through federal Title X family planning money. After considerable Board and community debate, the motion failed and the family planning program continued.

On September 17, the District Board of Health passed a resolution in support of smoke-free air ordinances.

The Health Department Web site,, is redesigned.

A nurse gives the smallpox vaccineEleven Health Department nurses were among the first in Kentucky to be vaccinated against smallpox as part of a plan to protect  health-care workers against the disease. The Health Department was also the first local health department in Kentucky to offer the vaccine to local health-care workers on March 17, 2003. About 70 people were vaccinated.  

Transition Task Force, a group of Health Department staff, is formed to examine the Health Department’s culture and create an Organizational Change Plan. The plan is implemented throughout much of 2005.

A dental sealant program created. Through the program, a Health Department dental hygienist and assistant travel to local schools to place sealants, a protective coating that prevents tooth decay, on the teeth of elementary school students.

The Health Department partnered with the AMOS Project, a local faith-based group to provide lead screenings in Covington.

The Health Department staff coped with a nationwide flu vaccine shortage in the fall by offering the vaccine only to those people considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be at high-risk from developing complications from the flu.

The “Get Up, Get Out, Get Fit” campaign was launched in Grant County to encourage residents to be physically active. The program later expanded to Campbell and Boone counties.

The Master Health Plan for Northern Kentucky is published in January, and outlines important health issues in three areas: physical health, lifestyle and environment and access to health services. This plan combines the objectives of the APEX-PH, PACE-EH and MAPP strategic processes, and also the priorities identified by other organizations within the public health system.

An outbreak of the parasite Cryptosporidiosis was spread through the water in local swimming pools. More than 100 Northern Kentucky residents are infected, and more than 600 are infected in Greater Cincinnati.

Boone County officials considered pulling out of the health district. After studying the issue at length, the Boone County Fiscal Court decided in January 2006 to remain in the district. However, with buy-in from the County Judge Executives in Boone, Campbell, Kenton and Grant counties, a reorganization subcommittee of the District Board of Health’s Planning and Project Review Committee was formed to examine changes in the structure of the district to better provide services based on needs of individual counties.

Nurses work in a shelter after Hurricane KatrinaSeventeen Health Department staff members traveled to Mississippi between September and November to assist with Hurricane  Katrina relief efforts. Three groups of nurses helped provide nursing care at a Red Cross shelter in Ocean Springs, Miss.; and three Health Environmentalists worked throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast inspecting food preparation and sanitation as part of teams organized by the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

A new Kenton County Health Center, located at 2002 Madison Ave. in Covington, opened on June 5. The new facility has more space and parking than the previous location on Scott Street. It is the result of more than a year of planning and remodeling work led by the Kenton County Local Board of Health. The building was purchased by the Kenton County Local Board for $1.5 million in July 2005.

The HANDS (Health Access Nurturing Development Services) program expands, covering children from age 2 to 3 1/2. The extended program is intended to bridge the gap between age 2 and the beginning of pre-school. Northern Kentucky is the only region in the state to offer these services--elsewhere, HANDS ends at age 2.

The Health Department responds to simultaneous outbreaks of Crypstosporidium and Shigella, both diarrhea-causing illnesses. More than 190 cases of Crypto were reported and more than 306 cases of Shigella were reported during the outbreak.

The food inspection listings on the Health Department's Web site is upgraded, allowing users to search for scores by establishment name, location, ZIP code and score received.

The Health Department embarks on a new community health planning project, in partnership with Vision 2015. The assessment looks at all aspects of the health care system in the region, and gathers community input. The resulting report, "Vision for a Healthy and Vibrant Community," is published in January 2010.

Health Department staff are given the option of working 10-hour days, four days a week. The shift in scheduling allows for services to be provided at extended hours.

Ten Health Department employees and one Northern Kentucky Medical Reserve Corps volunteer are deployed to Louisville to work in a shelter for individuals evacuated from New Orleans during Hurricane Gustav.

In September, a windstorm causes widespread power outages in the area. The Health Department staff responds providing information on food safety, and works with restaurants to ensure that contaminated food is not served.

The economic downturn leads to an increased need for Health Department services. Enrollment in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition supplement program grows by 1,000 over the course of a year--typical growth had been 100.

Four nurses are deployed to Muhlenberg County, Ky., to work in a special needs shelter for victims of an ice storm.

The Health Department responds to the nationwide outbreak of swine flu (H1N1). More than 30,000 people receive the swine flu vaccine at community and school-based clinics. Additionally, the Health Department allocates more than 60,000 doses of vaccine to local medical providers. Throughout the response, education and information are made readily available through public meetings, Web pages and media interviews.

In November, the Campbell County Health Center moves from its location on Fifth Street in Newport to the new Campbell County Administration Building at 1098 Monmouth St. in Newport. The new facility provides additional space, parking and conference room facilities.

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