OTC Public Health aims to promote healthy communities

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

County commissioners, on April 11, recognized county public health employees who collaborate with partners outside of the health sector. Those partners include city planners, transportation officials, education officials and private sector businesses.

Similar recognition is coming from county boards across Minnesota and throughout the United States who also are issuing national public health proclamations during the month of April.

“We in public health strive to transform a health system focused on treating illness into a health system focused on preventing disease and injury and promoting wellness,” said County Public Health Director Jody Lien.

County commissioners praised county public health employees in Otter Tail County and in other areas of the nation that stress eating healthier, increasing physical activity and preventing unintentional injuries at home and in the workplace. This, they said, is in addition to urging people to avoid tobacco use.

Nationally, governmental units such as county commissioners are recognizing the role of public health in preventing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks such as the COVID–19 pandemic.

Also cited was mitigating short-term and long-term impacts of infectious disease outbreaks on the health and wellness of individuals, addressing social and other determinants of health and improving the overall health of individuals

Lien said the primary responsibilities and services of Otter Tail County Public Health are to promote healthy communities and healthy behaviors, prevent the spread of infectious disease, protect against environmental hazards, prepare for and respond to disasters, assist communities in recovery and assure the quality and accessibility of health services.