Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Planning for future public health

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TWC News: Planning for future public health
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Austin city leaders are asking for Austinites’ input for the planning the future of public health.

Deputy Director Shannon Jones with the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services said public input will help the agency complete its Community Health Improvement Plan, a major undertaking needed to gain accreditation.

"What is the health status of the community? What things the community would like us to do regarding health issues in our community?" Jones said.

Austin/Travis County is one of 12 areas helping draft guidelines which will be used to accredit public health departments like it.

Jones says services go beyond just health care services. His department oversees every aspect of public health—even birth and death certificates—but they want to do more.

"Everything from: should we be providing more services for teenagers regarding reproductive health? Or our services regarding immunizations, how do we make those accessible? Are there areas that we don't have those in that they'd like them to go?" Jones said.

The agency is hosting a series of community health forums throughout Travis County where the public can speak up. The next is on Thursday at Dessau Elementary in Northeast Austin. It starts at 6 p.m., but Austinites can arrive earlier at 5 p.m. for a health screening

More information about the health forums can be found at AustinTexas.gov/HealthForum.

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