New GCPH building set to open

XENIA — The public is invited to the grand opening of the new Greene County Public Health building 3-6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13.

Held adjacent from the round building located at 360 Wilson Drive in Xenia that has served Greene County families for more than 42 years, the ceremony will include a ribbon cutting, remarks from local officials, self-guided tours of the facility, music, and light refreshments.

The new building will fulfill the need for additional offices, more spacious clinic rooms, up to date equipment, and new technology capabilities. The funds for the building come from combined funds received locally to fund public health in Greene County. Funding will not be provided through public tax dollars (the public health levy).

According to the Health Commissioner, Melissa Howell, “Greene County Public Health is excited to help write the next chapter on the future of public health by responding rapidly to the evolving landscape in public health. We have taken the necessary steps to achieve accreditation [and] sought innovative ways to expand healthcare services.”

Howell added that for nearly 100 years, the health department has responded to diseases like smallpox, anthrax, SARS, MERS-CoV, Ebola, Chikungunya and Zika. She said the department is responding to current health challenges including lack of good nutrition and physical activity which leads to obesity and chronic disease, assuring young women see a doctor in the first trimester of pregnancy, addressing substance use and behavioral health, and making sure people maintain balance and flexibility as they age.

Howell said GCPH collects health assessment data through telephone surveys and focus groups every three years and then responds to the identified concerns by implementing evidence-based programs and services.

“The new era of public health draws on leadership from public and private sectors to impact community health in collective efforts. Our zip codes are more telling of health outcomes in a particular community than our genetic makeup,” Howell said. “Our communities are safer due to the work of our professional public health staff who inspect our restaurants, protect air quality, and promote safe water. For this reason, we are training community health workers, disease scientists, and health educators to address broader issues such as education, transportation, food safety and security, safe neighborhoods, and the development of health policies.”