Health Council reviews prevention initiative

By Bob Robinson
Star Staff

   The Carter County Health Council discussed the Community Prevention Initiative award of $59,879 at its Feb. 13 meeting at the Carter County Health Center.
   A staff position is in the process of being filled for the Carter County Baby STEPS initiative. The program targets children, birth to 3 years of age, for assessment and educates parents to ensure proper child development progress.
   The goal is for all children in Carter County to enter school "ready to learn," according to Caroline Hurt, community development coordinator with the Tennessee Department of Health Regional Office in Johnson City.
   A family consultant will be located at the Carter County Health Center.
   The consultant will work with the Health Department, Sycamore Shoals Hospital and other community agencies to identify babies and families as early as possible to ensure appropriate developmental achievement, Hurt said.
   As the project matures, parents will begin to mentor other families to create a network of resources and engage community spirit.
   The council also received an update on the Seniors Initiative from Art Webb of Watauga Association of Baptists, who reviewed updates about this initiative.
   Prior to the Seniors Event held at the Elk Mills Fire Hall last October, several personal surveys of seniors and special-needs residents were conducted in Poga, Elk Mills, Fish Springs, Butler and Little Milligan.
   Among 89 people surveyed, 59 indicated they were taking medications, including 31 for heart condition, 30 for high blood pressure and 12 for diabetes, among others.
   Among respondents, 25 percent indicated they were elderly, 37 percent had vision problems and 21 percent had hearing difficulties.
   Jim Burrough, director of the Elizabethton Carter County Emergency Management Agency, reported on the portion of the survey dealing with logistical needs, such as life-saving medication and equipment or mobility barriers, in the event of a county-wide disaster that would isolate these residents.
   Results of the health status needs portion of the survey were compiled and brought to the council by Dr. Joellen Edwards, dean of ETSU College of Nursing.
   The council discussed and approved recommendations to replicate the survey and health fair process in other communities in Carter County and repeat the process in the original cluster of communities.
   Officers re-elected for 2002 were Dr. Joellen Edwards, chair; Marjorie Nell Cardwell, vice-chair; and Art Webb, secretary.
   In addition to the officers, council members are Dwain Austin, director, Carter County Health Center; Kathy Berry, director, Family Resource Center, Cyclone Center; Kathy Bowman, community representative, Carter County Health Center;
   Tracy Buckles, extension assistant, UT Extension Services; Jim Burrough, Elizabethton/Carter County EMA; Truman Clark, Carter County executive; Kathy Dula, assistant director, Senior Citizens Center; Dr. John Green, physician; Jack Hensley, area manager, Department of Human Services;
   Terry Henson, health educator, Carter County Health Center; Jeff Hileman, Carter County Rescue Squad; Linda Presnell, MH/MR and Early Intervention Representative; Tonia Sparks, Workforce Development;
   Meredith Trott, director, Vocational Education; Brenda Wallace, executive director, United Way; Scott Williams, administrator, Sycamore Shoals Hospital; and Peggy Willocks of Watauga.