Friday, July 18, 2014

WIC takes team trophy as health department recognizes outstanding employees

Members of the WIC staff at the Mobile County Health Department show off
the traveling trophy they recieved July 18, 2014, after being recognized for
their outstanding efforts to serve the public while they transitioned to a new
computer system.
MOBILE, Ala. -- In January, a new employee recognition program known as GEM – Going the Extra Mile -- was announced at the Mobile County Health Department. Three months later, several departments across the 504-employee agency were recognized with team GEM awards at a bling-inspired training event and celebration.

Now, MCHD's first individual GEM winners have been selected by nominations from their peers and supervisors. All six have Gone the Extra Mile in their professional duties. They may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but every single one of them, in their own way, are helping to transform MCHD and Family Health into the agency of choice in Mobile County. That makes them real life super heroes.

The individual GEM winners are:  Amy Rosson, Finance; Dr. Kent Daum, Optometry; Margaret McCullouch, Nutrition Services; Meredith Gardner, WIC; Natalie Briceno, Pediatrics and Wendy Hale, Housekeeping.
In March, the first winner of the traveling trophy was given to the Finance Department. Now, the silver cup will have a new home as it leaves Finance and makes its way to WIC, the Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program led by Elizabeth W. Smith. Smith and her staff has been hard at work implementing a new computer system known as Crossroads.

Other teams who were recognized for their hard work during the most recent quarter were the staff at the North Mobile Health Center and the Maintenance Department.  


Back-to-school immunizations offered at some public schools in Mobile through end of July

Family Health's mobile medical unit was stationed at Grigg's Elementary School
in Tillman's Corner on July 17, 2014, offering back-to-school vaccines to students.
More off site immunization events are planned throughout July at school campuses
across Mobile County. 
MOBILE, Ala. – Family Health staff members gave 58 vaccines to 16 children Thursday, July 17, 2014, during a two-hour special immunization clinic at Griggs Elementary School in Tillman’s Corner. WKRG TV-5 covered the community outreach where information was provided on how to get vaccines before school starts, the new MCHD website and other health information.

The mobile medical unit was stationed alongside the Mobile County Public School System Food Express at two campuses the week of July 18 offering immunizations to students age 4 and older. Family Health is the primary care division of the Mobile County Health Department.

Christina Weaver brought her son, Zakary Primm, age 11, to the community outreach event. Zakary is entering sixth grade at Semmes Middle School this year. Ms. Weaver said there was no wait to receive the vaccines. They were in and out in less than 15 minutes.

Upcoming immunization clinics from the mobile medical unit will be offered alongside the school system’s food express on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the remainder of July, health officials said. There will be no cost associated with the immunizations for Medicaid patients and the uninsured, health officials said.

Immunizations for children

By law, all students must have a current Immunization Certificate in order to register for the 2014-2015 school year. Students who are not changing schools this year should already have their Immunization Certificates on file at the school.

According to Alabama’s immunization schedule, Immunization Certificates expire when children reach 4 and 11 years of age. New Immunization Certificates are issued when appropriate immunizations are received.

What to bring
  • Parent’s or caregiver’s photo ID
  • Child’s Social Security number
  • Child’s immunization record
  • Insurance card.

The Mobile County Public School System announced that healthy meals would be delivered to children ages 18 an under on Mondays through Thursdays, through July 31, earlier this year. The routes are available on and the Mobile County Public Schools’ Facebook page.


Monday, June 30, 2014

New NASA students working at Mobile County Health Department

Students taking part in NASA's DEVELOP program at the Mobile County Health
Department include, from top row left to right, Shikher Mishra (team leader),
Emmanuel Hitimana, Christopher Castillo, Walt Clark. Front row, from left to
right, Kenny Nguyen, Amber Jones and Charles White.

MOBILE, Alabama -- For more than a decade, small groups of college students have been working in an office at the Mobile County Health Department as part of NASA’s DEVELOP program, an earth sciences initiative created to foster a better understanding of complex environmental issues facing our planet and its people.

DEVELOP charges students with sharing NASA earth science research with local, state and scientific communities in meaningful ways. Projects are often initiated in response to community demands and help students build relevant work skills under the mentorship of NASA science advisers and partner organizations such as the health department and Dr. Bernard Eichold.

About 10 years ago, the Mobile County Health Department’s Dr. Bernard Eichold learned of the earth sciences initiative during a policy conference. He established one of the earliest national DEVELOP locations in Mobile. In 2012, Dr. Eichold was awarded NASA’s highest civilian honor for his work as a mentor to those students and his support of the research they accomplish.

Earlier this year, NASA interns had an opportunity to meet with former NASA astronaut Kay Hire when she visited the Mobile County Health Department.

Summer safety: Never leave children alone in cars

MOBILE, Alabama -- Each summer there are senseless deaths related to heat exposure in Alabama and beyond. The extremely hot temperatures in summer should remind parents, grandparents and caregivers not to leave children unattended in vehicles.

Young children are at special risk because their bodies heat up three to five times faster than adult bodies. Infants and children younger than age 4 are at greatest risk of heat illness and death from heatstroke, health officials said.

Most of the temperature rise occurs in the first 15 to 30 minutes after the vehicle is parked.  Running a car air conditioner then parking a car does not help keep the vehicle cool enough for infants and children to stay in. Even when temperatures are in the low 80’s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes.

“Leaving the car windows partially opened does not significantly slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature inside,” said Dr. Karen Landers, assistant state health officer in Alabama. “Leaving children unattended also puts them at risk for other dangers. Even if the engine is running and the air conditioner is on, children can experience heatstroke death and injuries. Furthermore, this puts them at risk for abduction or injury if they put the car in motion.”

Children rely on parents and caregivers to keep them safe and comfortable. Make it a part of your routine to do things that remind you that a child is secured in a vehicle. Some parents and caregivers place items such as their cell phone, lunch boxes or briefcases in the back seat to ensure that no child is left behind. Ask your child care provider to contact you if the child is unexpectedly absent from child care. Be sure to lock unoccupied parked vehicles and store your keys out of children’s reach to prevent them from entering a vehicle without your knowledge.

If you see a child alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 at once. A child in distress should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled to prevent heatstroke, death or injury.

(Editor's note: Information for this blog post was provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TEEN Center's Fatherhood Initiative hosts successful basketball tournament

MOBILE, Ala. -- A basketball tournament was held in June as part of the Fatherhood Initiative, which is funded through Mobile County Health Department's TEEN Center and a national grant. The Fatherhood Initiative aims to give fathers and father figures the skills they need to learn how to reach their full fatherhood potential. When that happens, men stay more connected to their families, something that benefits everyone.

Research shows that parental involvement may affect infant mortality through the mother’s well-being. A single mother with little support or access to vital resources, such as another adult in the home, has a much greater risk of negative outcomes.

The Fatherhood Initiative is offering numerous services and incentives to help alleviate the negative impact of absent fathers on the home and community. They are: GED tutorial services; Vocational certification; On-the-job training; Fatherhood mentoring; Child care classes and services; Transportation and gas vouchers; Gift cards to support increased father-child involvement.

Friday, June 20, 2014

MCHD's Family Health staff promote All-Together Gospel and Jazz Festival on Fox 10

MOBILE, Ala. -- Two Family Health employees were featured on FOX 10's local TV morning show Friday, June 20, 2104, to share information about the All-Together Jazz and Gospel Festival planned for Saturday, June 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Cathedral Square in downtown Mobile.

Fred Phelps, a nurse with Family Health, and Ty Tover, a peer mentor, also with Family Health, talked about the HIV/AIDS crisis in America and what's being done to raises awareness in the community. Phelps is the president of the Mobile AIDS Coalition, which is comprised of the Mobile County Health Department's Family Health division, Franklin Primary Health Center Inc., Missing Link Consumer Group, USA Women’s and Children Specialty Clinic and AIDS Alabama South.

During the interview, Tover and Phelps offered information about how many U.S. residents are affected by the disease each year. It is estimated that more than a million Americans have HIV/AIDS, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. As many as 1 in 5 infected Americans don’t know they have the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wise Women initiative encourages women to seek heart smart choices

A participant in the Wise Women initiative writes her blood pressure on a
chart after taking the reading during a May 2014 meeting at the Mobile
County Health Department.
A group of women at risk for cardiovascular disease gathered recently for a Wise Woman meeting and cooking demonstration at the Mobile County Health Department. The meeting was designed to show the women that healthy food options can also be delicious, organizers said. The group of 20 women sampled strawberries and low-calorie angel food cake, along with fresh fruits and vegetables mixed together for a tasty salad.
The Wise Woman initiative is designed for women age 40 to 64 that are at risk for cardiovascular disease and who have made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. The patients receive three visits for healthy lifestyle coaching including one with a nutritionist who then gives them a New Leaf cookbook. The program is funded through a grant with the Alabama Department of Public Health and other sponsors.

Participants can attend monthly support groups on various topics. The May meeting at MCHD was a cooking demonstration by Registered Dietitian Dana Herazo of recipes from the New Leaf cookbook. A case manager assigned to each Wise Woman participant makes contact on a regular basis to help support them in their quest to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Those who participated in the May event were given blood pressure monitors, provided through grant funding, to take home for daily blood pressures checks.