What is Public Health?

The Linn County Health Department began in 1976 as a demonstration unit and in 1977 was established by vote as a county entity. In 1993 the health department moved to its current location at 635 South Main Street, Brookfield. The department currently has eight full time employees and a part-time environmental sanitarian. The health department operates under a five-member board of trustees. The mission of the department is to promote and protect the health, safety and well being of the community through leadership and service.

Various funding sources, including the local tax levy enable us to perform these services and carry out public health functions. We offer immunizations for children and adults and this includes our yearly influenza vaccination clinics offered throughout the county. Maternal-Child Health services, the WIC program and emergency preparedness are services funded through federal grants. As a department, we also offer services and education about car seat use and installation, prescription drug abuse, safe infant sleep, diabetic education, breastfeeding promotion, smoking cessation, emergency volunteer response, school health and child care provider education. The Environmental Sanitarian conducts restaurant and lodging inspections and responds to issues that may arise with water sources and improper sewage disposal. Communicable diseases are reported to the department and follow- up investigations are done to keep the disease from spreading to others in the community.

Public health office visits include: STD testing, pregnancy testing, TB skin test, medication administration, medication set-up and other doctor prescribed skilled nursing needs. Multiple other services are also accessed through our office, including: family planning, pre-school screenings, lead testing, emergency planning, state lab item pick-up and prenatal case management. The department can also print birth and death certificates for anyone who was born or died in the state of Missouri.

We also look to address public health issues as a whole and develop partnerships to address issues such as seat belt use and distracted driving awareness. Partnerships with the school allow education on smoking, alcohol, suicide prevention, bullying, sex education, personal hygiene, exercise and nutrition. Community health fairs address issues such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. All these services compile what we do to emphasize public health as a local health department. Public health is crucial to developing a society where healthy choices are a way of life and not an after- thought.

Vanessa Lincoln, MSN, RN
Administrator