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February 25, 2014

County health program receives $300K

CHEROKEE COUNTY — The county health care program recently received a $300,000 state grant that will provide for expanded clinical services to the women of Cherokee County.

The new Women’s Health and Family Life Planning Clinic – funded through an award by the Texas Department of State Health Services – will offer a variety of services to women ages 18 and older, including newly available expanded diagnostics and laboratory testing, according to a release issued Monday by Cherokee County Public Health.

According to countyhealthrankings.org, 26 percent of Texas residents do not have health insurance; in Cherokee County, that number is slightly higher, at 31 percent, according to those rankings.

“This is an exciting time for Cherokee County and for population-based health,” said Christopher Taylor, public health executive director.

While the grant monies will go towards women’s services, CCPHD will use existing funds to provide services to men and adolescents, according

to release.

The public health facility in Jacksonville, located at 510 E. Commerce, will serve as the county’s primary location for providing health care. Taylor has been working with officials from the City of Rusk and the Alto Economic Development Corporation to establish weekly travel clinic sites at the Rusk Civic Center – beginning April 7 – and at a property recently acquired at 123 Busy Bee Street in Alto, where clinics begin April 10.

These sites are provided by local entities to serve more rural communities and are

neither owned by the county nor the health department, the release emphasized.

Individuals may access services each week between 9 a.m. and noon, and 1 to 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, several dates in March have been established at the Jacksonville clinic as the “kick-off event” to launch the new clinic expansion: From 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 6 p.m. on March 4, March 6, March 24-25 and March 27.

County health officials and members of the graduate nurse practitioner program at the University of Texas at Tyler will provide women a variety of services.

These include breast and cervical health screening, primary care services and check-ups, pap tests and diagnostics, along with other

services.

Individuals can call 903-586-6191 to see if they are eligible and to schedule their appointment during the kick-off event, or at a time more convenient for them.

CCPHD offers a variety of services to the public including breast and cervical cancer screening, immunizations, family life planning, women’s and men’s primary care, disease surveillance, public health and family preparedness, consumer health and food safety inspection, among other services.

“Our goal is first to help the community find ways to avoid poor health habits, to eliminate harmful environmental factors, then ensure people have access to care that can get them back to work and back to volunteering within the community if they do experience health problems,” Taylor said. “Prevent, Promote, Protect . . . it’s what we are here to do.”

Meanwhile, in Rusk, an unrelated health fair is planned from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 6, at the Rusk Civic Center.

According to Amy Derrington, director of Singletary Memorial Library and who helps coordinate community events at the center, representatives from Beyond Fitness, UT Health Pediatric Asthma, Carter Blood Center, Trinity Mother Frances and East Texas Medical Center Mobil Mammography, among others, will

participate in the event.

“The civic center is a beautiful facility with a lot to offer, and we’re hoping to get things moving out there,” so a health fair benefitting the public was something they definitely wanted to offer, she said, adding that this is a fairly new offering.

“We had a group come down I think in December, helping explain insurance issues (concerning the Affordable Care Act), plus we’ve had some small health fairs in the past and decided it was time to do another one,” Derrington said. “The opportunity presented itself and we jumped on it.”

The March health fair is coordinated through the local Friends of the Library group, and not related to the travel clinic that will be coordinated through the county health offices.

“We want to give back to the community,” Derrington said, describing the upcoming fair as an effort similar to those held in Alto for the past two years.

Coordinators will provide a complimentary meal to those individuals visiting during the lunch hour, she said.

To learn more about the March 6 Rusk health fair, contact Amy Derrington at 903-683-5916.For more information, contact the Public Health office at 903-586-6191, or email executive director Christopher Taylor, ctaylor@cctxphd.org.

Learn more by visiting the “Cherokee County Public Health Department” page on Facebook.

 

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