12/27/06 — Health Department aim is to improve services

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Health Department aim is to improve services

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 27, 2006 1:50 PM

The coming year will be a time for the Health Department to shore up services that will benefit residents across the county, says Health Director James Roosen.

At the board of health's monthly meeting, Roosen said several grants have been secured and programs begun to better meet the needs of the community.

"One thing that we have tried to focus on is trying to identify other agencies in Wayne County to partner with," he said. Ideally, he said, the team effort would only enhance the Health Department's mission.

The department has already begun working on several programs with Smart Start, Roosen said. In an effort to protect children against tooth decay, a $12,000 grant has been earmarked to identify families that need a fluoride varnish treatment. The project had been in the works for a couple of years, he said.

Another resource will be the WAGES' Foster Grandparents program. A $5,000 grant is geared to working with the senior citizen volunteers. The outreach effort will target families the Health Department would like to reach.

"Maybe families where there's abuse and neglect going on, maybe an out-of-wedlock birth," he explained. "Our goal with this particular project is to treat them in terms of what public health is all about, what we have to offer and also for them to make referrals to us and us to them.

"We'll also partner with the Department of Social Services to make sure the Foster Grandparents understand the socials services side and Wayne County Partnership for Children, what's available to help them out of the crisis."

A grant for $20,000 was also obtained from the Office of Minority Health to address health disparities for minorities.

From that grant, $5,000 is being made available to local agencies, organizations or churches able to help decrease health disparities in such areas as infant mortality, child abuse and neglect, chronic disease and homicide among minorities.