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Healthy people in a healthy community without health disparities


Healthy Community Compass 


Winter 2013

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In This Issue
IDPH Award
Youth Ground Water Festival
We Choose Health
Public Health Month
Cholesterol Screening Clinic
Passenger Safety Seat Event
Smoking Cessation
New Tdap Immunization Requirement

Weather Safety Preparedness


Prepare for Unpredictable Spring Weather


Environmental Health

The Private Well Class 


A free on-line training for homeowners with water wells.



"Compass"  Newsletter
"Compass"... is a WCHD newsletter intended to provide public health partners and the broader community with information on services and resources vital to reducing preventable disease and avoidable health care costs. "Compass" strives to highlight the path of evidence-based prevention strategies and promote good health as a shared responsibility between individual healthy choices and community / public policy support to improve health at all levels.
Contact Information
Winnebago County Health Department 
401 Division Street
P.O. Box 4009
Rockford, IL.  61110-0509 
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 PH Logo

 Mike Bacon

Dear Community Resident:


Welcome to the 2013 Winter Edition of the "Compassnewsletter. 

The Perennial Challenge in Public Health 


While public health is a shared community responsibility, a well supported public health system is vital for a healthier future. Growing public health needs, including obesity, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, interpersonal violence, mental illness, substance abuse, and resurgent infectious diseases have been met with dramatically decreased funding for public health services. Since 2010 WCHD has sustained more than $2M in budget reductions and a 28% reduction in staffing. In addition, because of the lack of action in Congress to address sequestration that took effect March 1, WCHD stands to lose an additional $0.5M in support for services that reduce preventable disease and avoidable health care cost.


If sequestration continues without legislative modification local programming such as cancer screenings, childhood vaccinations, HIV testing, emergency response, maternal child health services and more are facing further reductions. These reductions are unfair and disproportionate to all other areas of the federal budget that have not faced prior reductions. The biggest misfortune is that again those most vulnerable and underserved bear the avoidable impact of not knowing their HIV status, not having a timely mammogram or age appropriate childhood vaccine. In this event, the community also incurs increased risk of preventable disease. Congress must find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to these essential service areas.




Bacon's signature

J. Maichle Bacon

Public Health Administrator 

Winnebago County Health Department
Excellence in Community Leadership Award
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) celebrated Black History Month by honoring African Americans in communities throughout Illinois who have made a positive impact in public health.
On Thursday, February 28, 2013 the Illinois Department of Public Health in Celebration of Black History Month, presented the Winnebago County Health Department's (WCHD) Black Male Health Community Action Team with the 2013 Excellence in Community Award. "The life and legacy of Africans and people of African descent is relevant to all people of every race and it is important that we recognize and celebrate the contributions that black people have made to the nation and the world," said IDPH Director LaMar Hasbrouck.
Black Male Health Community Action Team
IDPH honored the Winnebago County Black Male Health Community Action Team for its efforts in providing health promotion and prevention services to eliminate health disparities among African-American men in Winnebago County. The Team currently coordinated by Mark Hunter, is volunteer-driven and provides culturally relevant health education and health screenings to African-American men, and the community at large.

19th Annual Youth Groundwater Festival

National Groundwater Awarenes Week
Groundwater is the only source of drinking water in Winnebago and Boone Counties.


Winnebago and Boone Counties are at high risk for groundwater contamination due to porous soil conditions combined with with industrial, agricultural, business and personal activities that negatively impact the groundwater. The continued neglect of our drinking water source could result in major health and environmental health problems. To read more about the 19th annual Youth Groundwater Festival, click here.    
We Choose Health

In August of 2012, the Illinois Department of Public Health awarded the We Choose Health Community Transformation Grant to twenty-one agencies statewide, which included the Winnebago and Boone County Health Departments.


The Winnebago/Boone County We Choose Health initiative received $297,472 in the first year to implement programs for the prevention of chronic disease.


The Winnebago/Boone County We Choose Health initiative has 30 partners invested in making our area a healthier and safer place to live by focusing on six initiatives. These include Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, Coordinated School Health, Work-Site Wellness, Smoke-Free Outdoor Public Places and Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing. Click here to read more about the initiative.

April is National Public Health Month


Public Health is ROI 

Saves Lives, Save Money


This year's Public Health month theme will highlight the fun, easy and small steps people can take to make prevention a part of their daily lives. Public Health will showcase the value of investing in prevention. Research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than 16 billion in five years. That's a $5.60 return for every $1 invested. The 2013 Public Health month promotes a call to action about the value of prevention to our lives, pocketbooks and future. Go to www.wchd.org for a list of wellness activities that will be taking place throughout the month of April.       

Cholesterol Screening Clinic on 4/4/2013

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States and in Winnebago County.


71 million adults have high cholesterol, but 2 in 3 don't know they have it. The chance of heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk.
In honor of Public Health Month, on
Thursday, April 4, 2013 the Winnebago County Health Department's Health Promotion Program will hold a walk-in Cholesterol Screening Clinic from
7:30 am - 12 noon at our 555 North Court Street facility. Click here  for complete clinic details. 

Passenger Safety Seat Check on 4/4/2013

In honor of Public Health month, the Winnebago County Health Department Passenger Safety Seat Program will host a Free Car Seat Safety Check on Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 10am - 1pm. 
The Car Seat Safety Check will be held in the parking lot at the Winnebago County Health Department's 555 North Court Street facility. The event will be staffed by Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians who will be available to assess the safety of your child restraint and check proper installation. The event is a collaboration between the Winnebago County Health Department, Safe Kids Worldwide and is funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation. 


To help parents ensure their child seats are installed and used correctly, the Winnebago County Child Safety Seat program encourages parents to conduct an at-home checkup using the following safety check list:

  • Right Seat. Check the label on your car seatNPHW Logo to make sure it's appropriate for your child's age, weight and height.
  • Right Place. Keep all children in the back seat until they are 13. Doing this, along with correctly using the appropriate child restraints, greatly reduces the risk of injury.
  • Right Direction. Infants should ride in a rear facing car seat which could be an infant-only carrier or convertible seat. The recommendation before forward facing is that the child be 1 year old and 20 pounds. Make sure you are installing the car seat correctly with either the seat belt or LATCH system. Always refer to your vehicle manual to determine which system is appropriate.
  • Inch Test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.
  • Pinch Test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child's shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you're good to go.

For more information on car seats contact the Child Passenger Safety program at the Winnebago County Health Department at 815-720-4388.  

Smoking Cessation Class on 4/4/2013

In support of Public Health month, the Winnebago County Health Department will hold a Smoking Cessation class starting on Thursday, April 4, 2013.  


CDC experts cite tobacco use as the #1 preventable cause of death in the United States, killing 443,000 people - causing nearly 1 in every 5 deaths.


WCHD staff continues to focus on preventing the initiation of tobacco use, primarily by young people, by providing youth leadership programs, educational efforts and supporting public policy approaches that have been proven to reduce youthful use of addictive tobacco products.


Smokers can take advantage of the Illinois Tobacco


Quitline. The service is available every day from 7 am - 11pm (call 1-866-784-8937). The Quitline staff provide professional, toll-free assistance to help smokers 'kick the habit'. They also can provide low-cost, usually free, nicotine replacement products (gums, lozenges, patches, etc.) that more than double a person's chances of quitting.


For those area residents preferring 'face-to-face' services, WCHD staff and contractors continue to provide very low-cost individual and group counseling, and 7-session classes to help people quit. The encouragement and support from 'fellow quitters' and the more personal interactions often are preferred by smokers trying to quit. And nicotine replacement products are also available to these people, in collaboration with the Quitline. The next  scheduled class begins on April 4th, 5:30 - 7 PM at the Crusader Community Health Center @ 7th and Broadway streets in Rockford. For info on all tobacco reduction programs, or to register for the next class, contact the Tobacco Programs Coordinator at WCHD at 815-720-4269 or send an e-mail to: ldidier@wchd.org.


2013-2014 New Tdap Immunization Requirement
Beginning the 2013-2014 school year, all students entering sixth through 12th grade students are required to provide proof of a dose of the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccination.
For information on the new requirement click here

Please visit our website at www.wchd.orgfor our Healthy Community Compass Archive Pages. You may also follow the Health Department on Facebook and Twitter.
Contact Sue Fuller at sfuller@wchd.org for any suggestions on future articles or how we can improve our newsletter. 
Contributing writers for this Winter Edition include: Larry Didier, Mike Bacon, Sue Fuller, Kyle Auman, 
Tammy Rieger, Ruth Roth, and Kathy Schier and IDPH.