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Healthy people in a healthy community without health disparities


Healthy Community Compass 


Spring / Summer 2014

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In This Issue
Employer Health Savings Seminar
Work Place Wellness Award
5th Annual Back To School Clinic
2014 Back To School Youth Rally
2014 YMCA Intern Challenge
1st Place Team
(Week 8) 
Public Health Connects Us All
Public Health Connects Us All


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


September 24, 2014
7:30 -10:30 am
University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford 
Fite the Bite
Fight The Bite Winnebago  County  


"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, Illinois  61110-0509 

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Mike Bacon

Dear Community Resident: 

Welcome to the 2014 Spring / Summer Edition of the "Compass" Newsletter.



              Our Community's Wealth Built on the Health of All Residents...
Especially the Youngest Among Us


The building blocks of a thriving community and
well-functioning society rest on the health and development of our residents. The poor metrics that our community is harnessed with reflect factors that we realize are all interrelated and symptomatic of investments that historically have addressed the immediate rather than root cause(s). There is an old saying that..."you don't have anything if you don't have your health".  Good health is critical to the quality of life, individual and community productivity and overall economic well-being. Our future wealth is inseparable from the health of all residents. When a large portion of our residents are left behind, more of our community's future is left behind.


It is not new news to anyone that we have a chronic disease tsunami tumbling across the face of our nation's health care system. The high rates of preventable disease (e.g. heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, etc) represent one of the largest drivers of health care cost. We all pay for this and are at risk of an unsustainable trend of rising health care costs. In the process we are spending more and have poorer health outcomes than our competitors in other developed countries.


In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to invest in the health of our residents. If we could only do one thing to reduce crime, improve education levels, improve family income, reduce premature onset of disease, improve quality of life, it would be to strengthen a major building block of healthy development, the serve-and-return interaction with a newborn through facial expressions, babbling and gestures and supportive responses. It really comes down to warm loving relationships, particularly at the most crucial time for brain development (i.e. prenatal to three years of age). This back-and-forth relationship is the fundamental process for growth and richness of the brain's architecture. We all have a vested interest in our community's children. They represent the future wealth of our community. Strategically prioritizing these upstream investments could lead to Winnebago County becoming one of the healthiest in Illinois in the span of just one generation.


Bacon's signature
J. Maichle Bacon
Retired Public Health Administrator
Dr. Sandra Martell starts on September 8, 2014 as the new Winnebago County Health Department Public Health Administrator  
The Winnebago County Board of Health is pleased to announce that Dr. Sandra Martell will become the new Public Health Administrator for the Winnebago County Health Department. Dr. Martell is replacing Mike Bacon who retired in May after serving as the Winnebago County Health Department Public Health Administrator for the past 17 years.   "We, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) Board, feel both excited and fortunate to announce Dr. Martell's arrival to our community. Dr. Martell's knowledge in the fields of medicine and public health combined with visionary leadership capabilities guided by her vast experience will be a tremendous asset to the Winnebago County area," said Steven Lidvall, M.D., President of the Winnebago County Board of Health.

"I am very excited to join the Winnebago County Health Department and to continue to advance the public health priorities established during Mike Bacon's tenure. I look forward to working with the dedicated and professional staff of WCHD to serve the residents of Winnebago County," said Dr. Sandra Martell.

Dr. Martell comes to the WCHD with over 25 years of public health experience including recently serving as the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO). As the Interim Chief Operating Officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, Dr. Martell and her 300 public health staff members provided services to over 2.6 million people. She was instrumental in:

  • Implementing a 5 year agency strategic plan to address local public health concerns
  • Developing budgets and grant applications to support strategic initiatives
  • Initiating the process for national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) for the CCDPH
  • Establishing internal quality controls relative to outcome and performance management
  • Developing protocols and systems for emergency preparedness       


Prior to serving as Interim COO, Dr. Martell served as the Director of Integrated Health Support Services and Chief Nursing Officer within CCDPH. Dr. Martell holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a Master of Science Degree in Public Health Nursing / Family Nurse Practitioner, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Loyola University of Chicago.   
Dr. Sandra Martell will only be the third Public Health Administrator for the Department since 1971 when the City of Rockford Health Department and the Winnebago County Health Department merged to become one agency.
Winnebago County receives Gold recognition award for workplace health promotion efforts  

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that Winnebago County received gold recognition for the "Illinois Healthy Worksite" award from the Illinois Governor's office. This gold recognition was given to six out of 32 Illinois employers of which Winnebago County and SwedishAmerican Hospital, were top in the State. To read the entire news release click here.   


5th Annual Back To School Health Clinic   

The 5th Annual Back to School Health Fair was held on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. The annual Clinic provides an opportunity for local children to receive school physicals, dental exams, and immunizations, which meet State of Illinois requirements for entrance into school. Also provided are vision and hearing screenings, and lead screenings. The 2014 Clinic provided 79 school physicals with 53 students receiving 123 immunizations, 29 dental exams with 67 dental sealants, 30 vision and hearing screenings, and 17 lead tests.


2014 Back To School Youth Rally 

On Saturday August 9 members of the Teen Health Advisory Team (THAT) hosted the 15th Annual Back to School Youth Rally in which 850 book bags were given out to low income area youth enrolled in Kindergarten through 12th grades. Members organized the event to motivate and inspire local students as they returned to school by providing them with book bags and supplies, in hopes of achieving academic success. New this year, the Coalition opened up the Back to School Rally to four different distribution sites-all on the same day, at the same time. The four Rockford locations were: Blackhawk Boys and Girls Club located at 330 15th Avenue, Washington Park Community Center on 3617 Delaware Street, Fairgrounds Valley at 1015 West Jefferson Street, and Orton Keyes on 633 Ranger Street.

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 edition include: Julie Pearson, Mike Bacon, and Sue Fuller.