To the Editor:
The Westfield Board of Health met on February 4. We achieved most of our 2012 goals. The Township of Cranford joined us as the eighth town to share services and help us all to achieve economies of scale. We passed a resolution to ban cigarette smoking in public parks and recreational facilities. Because of the high quality of our services, the State Health Department chose the Westfield Regional Health Department to pilot test a new inspection standardization model. However, we abandoned our effort to obtain community water fluoridation to promote dental health due to insurmountable barriers outside of Westfield.
New goals for 2013 include further improving the cost-effectiveness of services and expanding our health communication, education and support services for residents and businesses. For example, we will improve our website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health and expand our training resources for retail food establishments.
The Board reviewed the tragic death of a Westfield child from influenza and the high level of influenza this year. We resolved to increase our efforts to communicate to residents, and especially parents, the importance of immunizing children as well as adults to prevent influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases and deaths.
The case of a child in town who had an elevated lead level was also reviewed. The Health Department, with the Building Department, conducted a thorough multidisciplinary investigation, identified the source of environmental lead and intervened. The child now has lead levels within normal limits.
The Health Department is sponsoring health screenings with Overlook Hospital in the Municipal Building. Free hearing screening will be on Thursday, February 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Bone density screening will be on Thursday, March 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and requires a $10.00 charge. For more information about these programs and to register, please call the Overlook Medical Center Community Health Department at 1-800-247-9580.
In addition, a free cardiac health fair, including cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure testing, is being offered on February 16 at the Short Hills Ballroom; registration is required by calling 1-800-247-9580. A free Komen screening and mammography program is being offered to women without health insurance on Saturday, March 23, at the Breast Center at Overlook. Registration is required by March 15 by calling 908-522-3534.
Finally, the Board formally recognized the supervisors and staff of the Health Department for their dedication, professionalism and efforts during Hurricane Sandy. Information about all of the Department’s activities is available on its website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health. The complete minutes of the February 4 meeting will be posted after review and approval at our March 4 meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building. The public is invited to attend.
Lawrence D. Budnick, MD, MPH
President, Westfield Board of Health