Originally published Sep 5, 2011
For the first time since 1972, we are now part of the new Georgia Department (not Division) of Public Health and have our own Commissioner with a seat on Governor Deal’s cabinet. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, Commissioner and State Health Officer, has assembled a great team to reorganize and refocus our public health efforts. She has already signaled that DPH’s district communications, preparation for accreditation, and managing public health “like a business” are major priorities. Dr. Fitzgerald is highly committed to making public health the best in Georgia.
While I am not one to dwell on either the negative or the past, we are going through some difficult times. At the end of June 2011, we saw several valued programs and staff reduced due to severe budget cuts. We are not alone in this challenge. During the past four years, the average U.S. local health department has been forced to reduce its staff by over 25 percent. So what does the future hold for us now? Should we circle the wagons and wait for the difficult economy and other challenges to surround and defeat us? I think not.
In spite of the tough times, our Board of Health Members, leadership team and staff have shown both the will and the courage to press forward with the same determination that has brought us this far. We will continue our fund raising efforts, continue to prepare for the renovation of the Juvenile Court Building, and continue to work toward accreditation. I am confident that sticking to our Balanced Score Card mission and vision for the future and continuing to provide exceptional service and care for our community residents will eventually reward our efforts with new opportunities and resources.
Personally (and speaking for both Board of Health’s and our entire leadership team), I am very proud of our staff and recognize that the levels of caring, commitment and quality you provide are exceptional. YOU are the force that makes such an impact on the lives our clients and partners and that will make us an acknowledged leader in public health.
Thank you for all you do.