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Showcasing Health Achievements in Counties

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The National Association of Counties (NACo) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Achievement Awards. The NACo Health Team would like to specifically recognize the winners in the category of health and, in doing so, highlight a sample of those awarded: 

Getting to Zero Initiative-San Diego County, Calif.

The Getting to Zero initiative seeks to end the HIV epidemic in San Diego County through an approach that includes the County of San Diego, medical systems, federally qualified health centers, community-based organizations and persons living with, or vulnerable to, HIV infection. The initiative is built upon strategies to:

  • Test: identify all persons living with HIV through focused and routine HIV testing;
  • Treat: Link persons living with HIV to HIV care, and provide wraparound services to ensure they remain in care over time and be successful in achieving viral suppression; and
  • Prevent: Link persons vulnerable to HIV infection to effective HIV prevention interventions such as pre-exposure prophylaxis.

The initiative was adopted on March 1, 2016 and is beginning to show real results. In 2017, San Diego County saw the first decline in new HIV diagnoses in the County since 2011. From 2011 through 2016, the number of new diagnoses was stable at around 500 per year; in 2017, the number of new diagnoses declined to 392, a 21% decline. Deaths have declined significantly among those living with HIV, and the county has doubled the percentage of persons living with HIV who are successfully treated from 2011 to 2017 (31% to 61%).

Dutchess County Stabilization Center-Dutchess County, N.Y.

The Dutchess County Stabilization Center opened on February 13, 2017, after eighteen months of research and planning. The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) completed a sequential mapping process to identify gaps in both the adult and children’s system of care. From that mapping exercise the county, in conjunction with community partners, was able to identify gaps and set a course to address the related service needs of the community. High utilization of the Emergency Department for non-urgent behavioral health and criminal justice events was identified as an issue in Dutchess County. Since the opening of the Stabilization Center, the county has had nearly 5,500 individual visits from over 3,000 guests.

  • Sixty-eight (68%) percent of guests have come with primary mental health issues.
  • Forty eight percent (48%) of individuals have co-occurring substance abuse and behavioral health concerns.
  • Fourteen percent (14%) have come with primary alcohol addiction.
  • twelve (12%) with opioid disorder.
  • six (6%) have come with other substance use disorders.

The Center has been enthusiastically perceived by the school districts located in Dutchess County. The Dutchess County 24-hour services have been utilized by 90% of the school districts have used the Center as an alternative to the Emergency Department.

Hepatitis A Outbreak: An Innovative and Collaborative Community Response-Macomb County, Mich.

In August 2016, a confirmed hepatitis A outbreak was announced in Michigan, resulting in 913 confirmed cases. Although Macomb County Health Department (MCHD) typically identifies five to 10 cases a year, from August 2016-March 2019 there were 223 confirmed outbreak cases.

To counter this unprecedented surge in hepatitis A cases, collaborative partnerships and wide-ranging interventions were desperately needed. In collaboration with state and local partners, MCHD determined that the department would increase understanding of the hepatitis A outbreak through an epidemiological study, and increase pre- and post-exposure vaccination among identified at-risk populations to control further spread of disease and increase understanding of the risk of hepatitis A. The objectives of this project were as follows:

  • Increase the epidemiological study of the outbreak.
  • Increase vaccination among identified at-risk populations.
  • Launch a public information campaign to increase awareness and action among at-risk populations to obtain hepatitis A vaccination.
  • Increase collaboration with agencies that serve those at highest risk of hepatitis A.

As a result of the program nearly 15,000 doses of hepatitis A vaccine have been administered. A significant decline in cases was noted between the second half of 2017 (162) and the end of the first half of 2018 (22). This trend is holding, with only one case reported in the first quarter of 2019.

Be Active Gwinnett-Gwinnett County, Ga.

Be Active Gwinnett is a recreation center on wheels that brings opportunities for safe, outdoor physical activity to youth in underserved, play desert areas in Gwinnett County. It promotes healthy habits that help decrease childhood obesity while advocating for positive youth development and awareness of community resources. Activities include obstacle courses, hula hoops, jump ropes, broad jump, agility hurdles, giant tunnels, pop-up soccer, jumbo stacks, parachutes, fitness spots/dice, gaga ball, flag football, junior golf, nine squares in the air, bubble soccer, and more.

The program has visited 21 locations and attracted 1,236 participants and added a full-time supervisor and an additional vehicle. The county has worked with Gwinnett libraries, public schools, AmeriGroup, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life curriculum, and programs dedicated to education about diabetes and oral hygiene.

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To explore all counties recognized, please visit https://www.naco.org/blog/2019-achievement-award-winners-announced. Winners of 2019 Achievement Awards are cordially invited to the NACo Achievement Awards Luncheon from noon to 2:00 p.m. on July 14, 2019, at NACo’s 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition in Clark County, Nevada. To register for the Annual Conference, please click here.

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