Health & Wellness

Springfield Board of Health to Health Officer: Information, Please

Dr. Leonard Bielory, Board Chair (3rd from left) pressed incoming health officials on financial information concerning proposed activities and proper dissemination of information to the public. Credits: Robert Kopacz
Incoming Springfield health officers aimed to assure the Board that financial allocations for activites would be forthcoming, and all information would be fully disseminated to Springfield residents. Credits: Robert Kopacz

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Springfield Board of Health pressed incoming health officer Michael Fitzpatrick for details surrounding finances, as well as dissemination of information to the public, during the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on February 8th 2017.

Fitzpatrick, who is providing health officer services to the Township under a shared services agreement with Madison, is new to Springfield Township (working here after being recently subcontracted through an agreement between Madison and Bloomfield Township), and pleaded for patience from the Board, noting that the financial information is “not the easiest thing to compile.”

“But on the other hand you know what you were projecting  when you took the contract, so you have that,” countered Dr. Bielory. “From the prior health officer we actually got financial allocations of funds for each activity. I'd like to see that here.”

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Dr. Bielory, in response to a time allocation table for personnel presence in Springfield per week, also noted that that information should be made fully available to the public. “Here’s my motto of life: An institution has no memory and no morals; it's people that do,” insisting that the public have names attached to the numbers to call.

He also called for a published calendar, both online and in print to be distributed through various channels, to be sure the the information is fully available to the public.

In other reports, health educator Lindsey Prewitt described her activities for outreach and promotion of health programs, both online and through other channels, such as a table at the local library.  She also provided details on a new program entitled the “Springfield Healthy Family Challenge,” a six week educational and activity program for families that will cost just $4.

The board also discussed improvement of protocols and contact information for suspected rabies exposure in case of an animal bite, and received reports on nursing, environmental health, as well as information about one individual who is being monitored for potential Zika virus exposure in the Township.

But the common thread emphasized by Dr. Bielory throughout the meeting was the dissemination of information to the public. Otherwise, “if [the public has] a question, like for example, when’s the rabies clinic? They can find it,” underscored Dr. Bielory. He encouraged Mr. Fitzpatrick to not only publish the information on the Township’s website, but also provide it to local news organizations, faith based organizations, school nurses, and the like.

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