Health department boasts new faces
There are many new staff members at the El Dorado County Public Health Department including nurse practitioners Nancy Jacobs and Chris Cifelli and Registered Nurse Suzanne Jury.
Jacobs started at the health department in December. She focuses on prevention and education, conducts exams, makes referrals and much more.
She earned a master’s degree in public health, which she said is a special field to work in.
“We have so many under-served people in this country,” Jacobs said. “We’re never going to solve any of these problems unless we start getting people healthy and preventing. Our health care system is loaded at the wrong end. Someone gets sick, then they get treated. It should start with prevention.”
Cifelli, the department’s newest nurse practitioner, often deals with family planning.
“Men and women come in for birth control, STD testing, HIV testing and there’s a lot of education involved,” she said. “Try to demystify health care, that’s what I try to do. I try to give them the real information and empower them. We’re trained to involve the patient in their treatment as much as possible, let them know there are things they can do.”
Cifelli has been in South Lake Tahoe for one year and said she loves working in public health.
“I like the emphasis of public health,” she said. “I like the population of people we work with. We’re a community-based clinic. The idea is to promote good health for the whole community. I like the idea of the government taking care of the people. That’s what it should be doing.”
The health department does not provide acute care, which at times can create difficulties.
“It’s challenging trying to provide health care to people who don’t have any money,” Cifelli said. “We don’t do primary care and it’s hard to say, ‘I can treat you for this, but you have to go to Barton (Memorial Hospital) for the rest.'”
Jury has lived in South Lake Tahoe since 1995 and began work at the health department last December.
A registered nurse since 1987, Jury works closely with schools and doctors’ offices to ensure children are properly immunized.
“I’m the immunization specialist,” said Jury, who has background in oncology, nursery, pediatrics and home health. “I work a lot with the schools and the community, trying to prevent illness before it happens. There is a lot of education involved.”
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