BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – As part of National Public Health Week the Broome County Health Department is taking the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) pledge to help build a healthier nation in one generation.
During NPHW 2019, APHA is focusing on a public health topic each day and identifying ways we all can collaborate to make a difference on that issue.
Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life in a safe environment. To make that possible, we need to address the causes of poor health and disease risk among individuals and within our communities. Where we live, learn, work, worship and play affects each of us and can determine our health and life expectancy.
“It is important we start conversations in our workplaces, schools, our neighborhoods and in our communities, to become advocates for positive change. Working together, we can build a healthier community that can lead to a healthier nation,” said Rebecca Kaufman, Director of Public Health for Broome County.
Monday, April 1st, kicks off public health week with the theme of: — Healthy Communities
The home you live in and the street you live on can affect your health. We want our residents to be able to live in a community where they have access to healthy food, can be safe in their home, or when they walk or bike in their neighborhood.
The Broome County Health Department is the lead agency for several programs that work to make our community healthier, especially when it comes to safe homes and healthier neighborhoods.
The Childhood Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program proactively addresses lead hazards in housing units where young children live. Units referred to the program are inspected, and if necessary cited, when hazards are identified. The program then provides free lead safety training and painting supplies to help property owners repair hazards in a lead-safe way. Program staff also conducts outreach activities to educate the public about lead poisoning prevention. The Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (LPPP) coordinates medical follow-up of all lead poisoning cases is Broome County, and conducts environmental investigations and enforcement to protect those children. LPPP is also responsible for blood lead level surveillance and education for local medical professionals.
The Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Lead Hazard Reduction Program is a federally funded program and provides funding for the abatement of lead and other health hazards in low-income housing units where young children live. Eligible units are tested and hazards addressed by the program’s qualified lead abatement contractor pool, up to $12,800 per multi-family rental unit and $18,100 per single family unit. Participating units are also eligible for additional Healthy Homes Supplemental Funding to identify and address other health and safety hazards in the home.
Another healthy housing initiative is Broome County’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program. This program provides free home visits to assess preventable illnesses, injuries, or deaths in the home. They provide educational materials and safety supplies to participating families, addressing health concerns such as fire safety, asthma, residential injuries, indoor air quality, pests, and more.
Two other critical elements of a healthy community are access to healthy food and safe streets.
The health department’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program (CHSC), funded by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), works to increase healthy and affordable food opportunities in high need areas of Broome County. CHSC partners with the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW), to support mobile food pantries that provide no or low cost healthy food items in high risk neighborhoods. CHSC also works with local municipalities to help develop and implement Complete Street policies. Complete Streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work.