El Dorado County unveils multi-faceted public health program | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County unveils multi-faceted public health program

Chris Daley
Mountain Democrat

Staff from El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency sponsored a three-ring circus-like presentation of the county's Strategic Public Health Plan goals at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, March 20.

Fourteen speakers from an array of county agencies addressed board members and each presented a separate piece of the public health programs as elements of different goals.

The overarching theme of the presentation was "Health in All Policies," and the department recommended that supervisors make that theme a board policy.

Elizabeth Blakemore, a counselor with the County Office of Education, led the discussion on children and youth describing key issues of concern, substance use and domestic violence in the home.

Helping adults become and stay "connected" was another element of the plan's goals. Mental Health representative Jamie Sambocetti described connectedness as "crucial to human health."

She cited her department's focus on specific populations especially youth in transition, unemployed adults, inmates and probationers and clients of the Human Services Agency. She also identified HHSA's "One Stop" program for job training and related services.

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El Dorado County has become a popular destination for retirees and seniors are now a significant demographic requiring health services. The program described by Adult Protective Services director Laura Walney is "targeting rural areas for outreach (efforts) to older adults."

HHSA Director Patty Moley presented "self-sufficiency" as an important element in the program's goals. She said that while the county's high school dropout or non-completion rate of 7.6 percent is well under the statewide average of more than 18 percent, it needs to be better.

Her programs are trying to increase the number of providers for working families both for child and adult care through community collaboration and partnerships.

Branches of the county's library system have become "Hubs" for vital health and education services for families. Each Hub represents a different supervisor district.

One of the recommendations offered is a ban on tobacco use on any county property. Data show that 84 percent of county employees do not smoke and 87 percent of the general population are opposed to smoke in public areas.

Vending machines throughout county buildings likewise are being scrutinized and the panel recommended reducing the percentage of "unhealthy" snacks and beverages to 50 percent.

"Help make the healthy choice the easy choice," is a working slogan for that issue.

Rich Todd with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department described his agency's emergency health responses as part of the county's overall health services.

Other elements included in the presentation were consideration of a pilot program to address "food insecurity" which was cited to be 13 percent throughout the county. That element's mission is to "reduce, recover, recycle food loss and waste."

Tuesday's program was shown on the board agenda as an update of the "County Strategic Plan Goal (subtitled) Healthy Communities: Improved health, well-being and self-sufficiency of El Dorado County communities, residents and visitors."