Originally published Sep 26, 2011
There is a new State Registrar and Director of Vital Records for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). As a state employee for two decades, Deborah Aderhold’s job dedication can be traced to her former days as a case worker at the Muscogee County DFCS to chief investigator for the Office of Investigative Services (OIS) with the former Department of Human Resources. Prior to Aderhold’s recent appointment by Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, she served as a Deputy Director in Vital Records.
“I have had the opportunity to learn Vital Records from the ground up: the laws that govern Vital Records [O.C.G.A. 31-10], our policy and procedures, business processes, and what our customers need from us,” said Aderhold. “We have made a lot of progress to streamline those processes, but we are constantly looking for ways to improve for our customers.”
“I’m very proud of the work that Deborah and her team are doing at vital records,” said Commissioner Fitzgerald. “We’ve got great state employees there who know how important it is to serve the public every time and on time.”
Vital Records documents everything that happens in a person’s life from birth to death in Georgia. Established in 1933, this office is responsible for accurate records and data concerning vital events to Georgians and other stakeholders. “There are close to 4 million birth and death records alone in Georgia that are housed at the State Office of Archives in Jonesboro dating back to 1919,” Aderhold said.
Vital Records has improved its customer service rating and response time over the years. “We’ll soon implement a new online registration system that will eliminate many of the technical challenges that we face in serving both the public and those agencies who require VR data,” acknowledged Aderhold. “We're also working with Georgia Technical Authority to establish an online ordering system and with AT&T to replace our antiquated phone system.”
Aderhold recognizes her staff’s commitment to the demanding job of processing millions of documents. “Despite the obstacles, they are positive, innovative, and determined to get the job done.” They handle roughly 300 calls per day and 30,000 on-line orders via VitalChek.com per year. Response time is expected to improve with newer technology and improvements in 2012.
“Many people don't realize how important a birth certificate is to someone with an infant who needs immediate medical coverage for surgery or how important a death certificate is to a widow whose home can be foreclosed on without her husband's life insurance,” explained Aderhold. She credits her staff’s commitment to the realization of their impact on so many lives.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, but it's an exciting time to be at Vital Records.”