April 6-12 is Public Health Week

April 4, 2014

(Charlottesville, Va.) – The Health Department has been protecting the health of families and communities for nearly 100 years. Public health professionals work around the clock to protect the public, promote health, and prevent the spread of diseases.

“Our community has faced many public health threats, including outbreaks of disease, natural and man-made disasters and an epidemic of chronic disease,” said Dr. Lilian Peake, District Health Director. “Our staff is on the front lines every day, safeguarding the health of our community, and working to prevent health problems before they occur.”

Each year, environmental health specialists inspect the nearly 1,000 food vendors in Virginia’s Planning District Ten to protect the dining public. They investigate other emergencies, such as reports of rabid animals that threaten the health of our residents. Clinical staff operate family planning and immunization clinics, while nutritionists in the district’s WIC Program teach mothers how to shop for and prepare healthy foods that give their children the best start in life. Together, the district’s outreach and clinical preventive services served more than 18,450 clients last year alone!

Since 2010 the District Epidemiologist, Public Health Nurses, and Environmental Health Specialists have investigated 95 reported disease outbreaks. Health department staff provide 24/7 coverage to respond to outbreaks of contagious diseases and public health emergencies.

Preparing for emergencies, whether weather-related or manmade are critical activities that help protect the health and safety of the community. “Our Emergency Preparedness and Medical Reserve Corps Programs are at the heart of preparation, collaboration, education and rapid intervention. Everyone can take steps to get ready for emergencies, even when you don’t know what’s coming,” said Dr. Peake. “I encourage families to prepare emergency kits with at least three days of nonperishable foods and water. Visit for the full list of recommendations.”

To combat chronic diseases caused by poor health habits, the health department brings together community agencies to create strategies that improve health. “I encourage you to get involved in an area that interests you. Improving our health takes the entire community, and we want to hear from our residents so we know what works,” said Peake.

For more information on how the health department protects the community and what you can do to for your own health or to get involved in prevention efforts in the community, visit