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Health Managers Push for Education

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EUGENE, Ore. — National Public Health Week is in full swing, and Lane County health managers are pushing education.

Each floor of the Health and Human Services Building has a special purpose dedicated to health of the community. Floor one focuses on basic health care. The first thing you see is the Charnelton Health Clinic. Lane County health leaders say anyone can receive the care because it’s free.

The second floor focuses on children and their mothers.

“WIC is a a preventative health program for pregnant women, women who’ve just had babies, infants and children up to age five. And we do health screening. We really try to address health problems that people are having or ways that people can prevent having health problems,” said Connie Sullivan, WIC Program Supervisor.

“If you were to ask me what keeps me up at night as Lane County’s Public Health Officer, I would tell you an epidemic of vaccine-preventable disease. Whether it’s measles or mumps or whooping cough–whatever it is. And our county is ripe for just such an epidemic,” said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Lane County Spokesman.

Dr. Luedtke says Lane County is the third worst for vaccinations in the state of Oregon. That’s where floor three comes into play. It specializes in communicable diseases and prenatal care.

“In 2013 what we’re seeing is higher incidence of both gonorrhea and syphilis. Our rates of gonorrhea are double, and yet we know that the population in Lane County has not doubled,” said Cindy Morgan, Public Health Spokeswoman.

Health leaders say the rise in those cases may just be from providers being more thorough with their data collection. But health leaders say these diseases start with prevention–and that’s where the fourth floor comes in.

“Overall, one in five Lane County residents continue to smoke and we know we all know that tobacco is not a healthy thing to do,” said Jennifer Jordan, Lane County Spokeswoman.

Public health leaders say tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death. The fifth floor deals with administration and records. It’s where budgets are set and decisions are made for public health in Lane County.

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