BERNARDS TWP., NJ -- The Bernards Township Health Department announced this week that it has been named one of the top local health departments in the nation serving a population of less than 100,000.

The Bernards health department serves six communities in the Somerset Hills and Morris County, with a combined population of nearly 53,000 people.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing over 3,000 local governmental health departments in the United States, made the awards in July, the department said. NACCHO President George T. Roberts presented the awards during the 2019 NACCHO Annual Conference. 

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Applications for the award were judged based on the size of the health department, and were scored to take into account innovation and creativity, implementation, impact in the community and public health, and engagement of community and diverse partners.

Bernards Township department serves six municipalities

The Bernards Township Health Department (BTHD), located at 262 S. Finley Ave. in Basking Ridge, is a contractual public health agency for six municipalities, including Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, and Peapack and Gladstone Boroughs in Somerset County, as well as Chester Borough, Mendham Borough, and Long Hill Township in Morris County.

The health department provides residents with a wide range of screenings, nutrition programs, and organizational collaboration with regional chronic disease coalitions. The health department also houses the Bernards Township Municipal Alliance, which has created a strong environment of support for health education in substance use disorders, youth services, and mental health. Both programs have high participation by members of the public who most need the information to make positive health changes, according to the department's announcement.

Free screenings coming up in September

The department has scheduled a free bone density screening on Sept. 19, and a pulmonary screening, also free on Sept. 25. An appointment is required for both screenings. To reserve an appointment, contact the Bernards Township Health Department at 908-204-2520. 

Highlights of the BTHD’s community-based collaborations include a dedication to health education in all facet, according to the health department. The focus is on protecting people’s health and well-being, the announcement said.

With a goal of prevention and health promotion, the department employs a spectrum of programs and interventions aimed at the environment, human behavior and lifestyle, and clinical services, the department said. 

Under the direction of Health Officer Lucy Forgione, the BTHD works to bolster traditional services such as environmental inspections, animal control services, vital statistics, health screenings, and health education. Their programs seek to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent the spread of infectious diseases, protect the environment, and prepare for emergencies, the department said.

For more information on the department and its programs, visit www.bernardshealth.org.