Public health meetings cover range of topics

Published on Thu, May 1, 2008 by Ruth Higgins

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Public health meetings cover range of topics

By Ruth Higgins

Birch Bay and Blaine area residents can shape public health policies and programs to make Whatcom County a healthier place. An opportunity to offer input is scheduled for next Tuesday May 6 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Blaine middle school, 975 H Street in Blaine.
“The more people who participate, the more topics are raised and new issues are surfaced,” said Susan Sloan, health information specialist for the Whatcom County Health Department, that is sponsoring a series of discussions on health issues. She emphasized that the focus is on the health of populations, that affecting the residents of Whatcom County; it is not on medical health, such as Joe Smith’s diabetes.

Topics could include water quality, accessible health care, oral health, emergency preparedness plans for the 2010 Olympics or any other public health issue introduced by attendees. The meetings are participant led and professionally facilitated.

This series of community conversations started in Bellingham on March 19 and will conclude in a specially planned session for Spanish-speakers at the Everson Senior Center on May 14. Other meetings were held in Lynden, Sudden Valley, Deming-Glacier-Kendall-Maple Falls and Fairhaven. Future groups will meet in Ferndale (May 7), Everson-Nooksack-Sumas (May 13), and Bellingham (May 14).

The conversations are the first of a three-step process planned by the health department to create a comprehensive health plan similar to the comprehensive land-use plan. Results will then be prioritized and the final step will formulate goals, policies and action plans.

Attendees can simply show up or pre-register by calling 676-6724, ext. #33300 or sending their names, telephone numbers and addresses to health@whatcom-county.us.