Council hears health department update

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council heard an update on the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department at its Monday, March 28, meeting.

Health Commissioner Pamela Riggs provided council members with her first presentation on the department since becoming commissioner in June 2021. Her summary included the department’s 2021 organizational chart within the administration, environmental health and nursing staff, accomplishments, and an overview of public health.

Riggs began with a favorite quote and thought on public health, by C. Everett Koop: “Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time.”

The CDC mission statement, Riggs said, is “To promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.” And said the Institute of Medicine Definition of Public Health states, “The activities that ensure conditions in which people can be healthy. These activities include community wide efforts to identify, prevent, and combat threats to the health of the public.”

Public health seeks to improve the health of the whole community with an emphasis on protection, prevention of disease, and promotion of well-being, Riggs said. She noted the last two years has been rough on everyone, and especially difficult for those working in public health who are trying to help keep the community safe. Many have left the field since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

The key themes in the concept of public health are populations, prevention, and equity, Riggs noted. The purpose of public health, Riggs’s presentation pointed out, is to:

• Prevent epidemics and spread of disease;

• Protect against environmental hazards in workplaces, housing, food, and water;

• Prevent injuries;

• Promote and encourage healthy behaviors;

• Monitors health status of populations;

• Reach out to link high-risk and hard-to-reach people to needed services;

• Mobilizes community action.

• Respond to disasters and assist communities in recovery;

• Assure the quality and accessibility of services and accountability of medical care;

• Conducts research to develop new insights and innovative solutions;

• Leads the development of sound health policy and planning.

Her report included the numerous achievements for public health in the 20th century as well as a list of the emerging threats of the 21st century, including chronic diseases, H1N1/COVID 19, natural disasters and other emerging infectious diseases.

“Public health will continue to protect you and your family in ways you might not even notice,” Riggs said near closing before posing several questions to consider about ways members of the public’s lives may have been touched by public health work.

The health department performs numerous tasks in the community, she noted, from sampling water for safety, to restaurant inspections, to the issuing of birth certificates, to immunizations given, among other things.

More information about public health, go to . More information about the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department can be found at

In other business, during a call for comments, Council member Jenny VanMatre thanked Police Chief Will Balling on his department’s hard work, as there had been numerous events going after criminals they have dealt with in recent weeks. Mayor Mardie Milligan agreed and also thanked Balling.

Milligan also reminded all that there are lots of events planned in April in the community, from shows/concerts at the Sidney Historic Theatre, to an art exhibit at the Gateway Arts Council on April 29, to an egg hunt down town on Courtsquare on April 16, and Dancing with the Stars, along with numerous other things.

Fire Chief Chad Hollinger thanked court staff and Law Director Dave Busick for their time helping fire investigators with a recent Saturday arson seminar.

City Manager Andrew Bowsher said the due date for city income taxes returns are due to April 18, also, the annual city spring mulch give away is April 23, 30, and May 7. And the last week of the city’s scheduled winter yard collection will be April 11-15.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]