SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Springfield, NJ Board of Health received a first model of a community health assessment survey, as part of an initiative to assess the health needs of the Township, at its June 13, 2018 meeting.

Health officer Michael Fitzpatrick presented a community health assessment survey prepared and implemented for the Township of Bloomfield, which he proffered to the board as a model for a Springfield community health assessment survey.

Mr. Fitzpatrick is also the health officer for Bloomfield and provides services to Springfield through a shared services agreement with Madison.

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Fitzpatrick noted that the form would be included as part of the shared services agreement, requiring Springfield only to modify the form to meet the its needs.

In response to a question on implementation from Board Chair Dr. Leonard Bielory, Fitzpatrick noted that the survey in Bloomfield was implemented in person, and through meeting with various groups.

“This is a great start, noted Bielory of the 32-page form. “The entire board needs to review it.”

Bielory noted that one of the tasks ahead of the board was determining how to implement the survey, whether through faith-based organizations, or directly to households.

Bielory also suggested a web-based form open and accessible to the public.

“The critical need that I see is children. Especially with mental health, and gun shootings, I think that this should be an imperative at this point in time,” Bielory emphasized, alluding to the recent rash of school shootings in the country.

Various board members, in response to a question by Dr. Bielory, recommended that the Bloomfield form should be reviewed by the supervisor of the school nurses, as well as all Township department heads, including police, fire and EMT.

The next tasks before the Board will be to revise the form to meet Springfield’s specific needs, and decide on implementation.

In highlights from other reports to the Board:

●     The Senior Registered Environmental Health Specialist Ben Samara noted that all seven pools operating in Springfield had passed inspection and are operational.

●     Township Nurse Marlene Dolan reported on a new Ebola vaccine that is now being utilized in the Democratic Republic of Congo which she described as being “very effective.” The vaccine must be stored at minus 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which creates special challenges for delivery.

●     Dolan also noted that there were 172 pediatric deaths reported nationwide from the last flu season. That number was higher than the 2012-2013 season, which was had a high death rate.

●     She finally reported that a nasal spray vaccine for the flu will be used next season, but authorities are not making a preferential recommendation for its use.

The board further cancelled the executive session for the evening and voted to not meet in August. The next meeting of the Board of Health will be on July 11, 2018, at the Springfield Firehouse.

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