Friday, December 19, 2014

Mobile County Health Department will encourage staff to scale back all year in 2015

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile County Health Department has big news regarding Scale Back Alabama. After the statewide portion of the program ends in April, the Mobile County Health Department will continue its own version of the Scale Back program, including a monthly lunch-and-learn session led by members of the nutrition staff.
Scale Back Alabama 2015 will be starting soon and to get everyone ready, we're sending these pre-contest "Appetizers" to all participants from last year. This week's appetizer should help you eat healthy during the holidays.  For more information on the 2015 program (which is new and improved), go to This year, you can register yourself online, starting in early January and then visit a weigh-in site to complete the registration and do your initial weigh-in. 
A Guilt-Free Holiday
With all of the easily accessible goodies and large holiday meals, it may seem impossible to eat sensibly this time of year. But many of you know it's possible! It just takes a little thought and planning. 
We've provided a few simple swaps you can make in your cooking, baking and snacking that will add up to a big change in how many calories you consume each day. Not only will you take in fewer calories, but these swaps will also help you consume more immune-boosting nutrients that are i mportant during this cold and flu season.

Greatist. Healthy Recipe Substitutions. 
Kids Eat Right. Baked Apples with Cinnamon-Oat Topping. 
The Fittest Fuel. Healthy Holiday Baking. 
Information provided by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD).
Scale Back Alabama is a collaboration of the Alabama Hospital Association, the Alabama Department of Public Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.


Kick the habit now: Alabama residents can get free help to quit smoking

While quitting smoking is hard, you don’t have to go it alone. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) offers state residents free help to quit, including coaching and two weeks of nicotine patches, if eligible.

The Alabama Tobacco Quitline – 1-800-QUIT-NOW – is available every day from 6 a.m. to midnight. Calls placed after these hours or on holidays will be returned the next business day. For those who prefer electronic help, the same Quitline services are available online at

Almost one in five adults in Alabama use tobacco. More than 54 percent of Alabamians who smoke said they tried to quit at least once during the past year, according to the 2013 Adult Tobacco Survey.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that there are now more people who have quit smoking than there are current smokers.

“The benefits of quitting smoking are almost immediate,” said Bret Stanfield, communication coordinator for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at ADPH. “Your heart rate and blood pressure drop within an hour and your circulation improves in a matter of weeks. Long-term, smokers who quit enjoy several major health benefits such as reduced risk of suffering from lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Also, by quitting smoking you could potentially save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year.”

Since 2005, the Quitline has helped thousands of Alabama residents quit smoking. Callers are required to participate in coaching sessions to receive the free nicotine replacement therapy patches. “Many studies have shown that you are twice as likely to quit if you receive coaching along with patches,” Stanfield said. After beginning coaching, the patches are mailed to the caller’s home if the caller is medically eligible.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Each year, 7,500 Alabamians die from smoking-related causes. According to the CDC, for every person that dies, 20 people are suffering from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.

Since the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health was published in 1964, more than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking. The new report issued this year said active smoking is now causally associated with age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, adverse health outcomes in cancer patients and survivors, erectile dysfunction, ectopic pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and impaired immune function.

 In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke has now been causally associated with an increased risk for stroke. For more information on quitting, contact the Quitline at 1-800-784-8669.

Source: The Alabama Department of Public Health

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dressing down for a good cause brings in nearly $1700 for area charities by health department staff

 MOBILE, Ala. -- Mobile County Health Department and Family Health staff members together have already donated more than $1,665 to two area charities in December that will help those in need have a brighter holiday season.
Members of MCHD's Social and Nutritional Services Division and other staff members coordinated a dress down fundraiser that allows employees an opportunity to spend $20 and dress down five times during November and December. Staff may also spend $5 and dress down once.

Carol Cannon delivered $832.50 to Catholic Social Services and $832.50 to the Salvation Army Dec. 12, 2014, from money collected by selling dress down tickets. Any money collected between now and January 2, 2015, will be delivered after the last dress down day, she said.

“Sales are continuing,” said Dale McQurter, who helped organize the fundraiser. “This is an awesome amount his year.” Dec. 19 and Dec. 31 are the final days to dress down in 2014.



Kathy Tatum, the voice of the Mobile County Health Department, is retiring after 16 years

Ms. Kathy Tatum recieves a plaque from Dr. Bert Eichold, Health Officer for
the Mobile County Health Department. Tatum is retiring after 16 years with the
agency. She served as the voice of MCHD for more than 10 years.
MOBILE, Ala. -- Kathy Tatum, who has served as the voice of the Mobile County Health Department for more than a decade, is retiring this month from Alabama's oldest health agency after 16 years of service. "I've laughed every single day I've come to work," Tatum said during a reception held in her honor on Dec. 18, 2014. "It's been a wonderful experience."

Tatum is known for her golden voice and warm smile. Dozens of friends, family and coworkers showered her with gifts, cards and hugs during the reception at MCHD's downtown Mobile location on North Bayou Street.

"She's been a true asset to the health department," said Dr. Bernard Eichold, Health Officer for MCHD. "If you have spent any time in the mail room, you know Kathy smiles when she answers the phone. You can hear it in her voice. We will certainly miss her."

Tatum worked in the pediatric department at MCHD before moving to the main switchboard more than a decade ago. She has been known to answer more than 125 calls in a day, giving every single client and customer her undevoted attention.

She also has made sure the mail is distributed across the 500-employee agency for just as long.

Mobile County Health Department staff beat food drive goal, collecting 913 pounds for the needy

MOBILE, Alabama -- Thanks to the generosity of Mobile County Health Department staff, MCHD and Family Health employees met and exceeded a goal of collecting 850 pounds during the latest food drive held in December 2014.

When all the cans were counted,  913 pounds of food were collected,  which will help provide more than 702 meals to needy families, according to staff with the Bay Area Food Bank in Mobile.

Since the goal was exceeded, a dress down day is planned for Friday, January 23, 2015. The Social and Nutritional Programs staff coordinated the effort.

Mobile County Health Department’s Family Health receives grant for clinical improvements

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile County Health Department’s Family Health clinics received a grant award for $27,768 for demonstrating clinical quality improvement within its primary care division. It was the largest such improvement grant, slated for fiscal year 2015, in Mobile County, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“We are pleased our medical providers and health care staff continue to improve the quality primary care they offer to thousands of patients across Mobile County,” said Dr. Bernard Eichold, health officer for Mobile County.
More information about the grants is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at
About Family Health: In 1979, the Mobile County Health Department launched its primary care division as a way to provide quality health care in areas where the needs are the greatest in Mobile County. Thirty-five years later, a new name and logo were launched to reflect Family Care’s continuous commitment to providing healthcare for all generations. In 2014, more than 40,000 patients visited Family Health’s nine primary care sites within the county.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mobile County Health Department employees recognized for 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of service

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dozens of Mobile County Health Department and Family Health staff members were recognized for their service to the agency, their achievements at work and their door decorating skills during the 2014 Winter Wonderful education and employee recognition event.
Staff members were treated to entertainment by vocalist Yatron Weatherly, a clinic administrator with Family Health. They also learned about a new survey for employees and patients, and took home tips for managing stress during the holidays by a trained counselor.
Employees with 10 years of service:
David Luther Brewer, Plumbing Inspector I, Onsite Services
Carlson Brown, Vector Control Inspector II, Vector Control
Dr. Mark Donahue, Physician, Pediatrics
Wanda Fields, Office Assistant I, Vector Control
Sherryl Hebert, Radiology Technician
Thomas Johnston, User Support Technician II, IT Department
Marquilla Lundy, Clinic Clerk, Eight Mile
Dale McQurter, Office Assistant II, Social Services Dept.
Ashonda Reese, Public Health Social Worker II, Social Services Department
Hope Robinson, Licensed Practical Nurse, DIP Clinic
Heather Stafford, Environmental Health Specialist III, Onsite Services

Employees with 20 years of service:
Tina Bourg, Secretary II, Onsite Services
Janice Cox, Public Health Aide, Eight Mile
Ted Micher, Environmental Health Specialist Supervisor, Onsite Services
Virginia Olison, Custodial Worker I, PPE

Our co-workers with 30 years of service:
Pamela Boyce, Environmental Health Specialist III
Jenese Gardner, Dental Hygienist, Semmes Clinic
Patricia Pushcar, Environmental Health Specialist III

Our co-worker with 40 years of service:
Patricia Britton, Database Analyst II, IT Department

There were 26 entries in the 2014 Holiday Door Decorating contest. The panel of outside judges was so impressed, they named three honorable mentions along with the first, second and third place winners. Congratulations to everyone who is helping to spread holiday cheer with their decorations and artistic talents. First Place, $50 winner: Emergency Preparedness; Second place, $30 winner: The Women’s Center; Third Place, $20 winner: Billing; Honorable Mention: Pediatrics; Honorable Mention: Immunizations; Honorable Mention: Southwest Health Center.