Two Norwood leaders urge council members to keep NHD
Following are two letters that were given to council members at last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting. The first letter is from Deb Robison, Coordinator of Children and Family First at Norwood City Schools, and the second is from Pastor Tim Brooks with Norwood Church of the Nazarene.
Dear Council Members:
The Norwood Health Department is a vital service in our Community. It is more than a convenience or a luxury service offered to the citizens of Norwood. The Norwood Health Department is essential in keeping our children, families and senior citizens safe and healthy.
I won’t repeat the services offered. You are aware of that. However, I would like to share with you some of the outcomes of these services. The Norwood Health Department received a grant for a smoking prevention program. Along with the Norwood City Schools school nurse all elementary school third and sixth grade students receive this evidence based life skills training. And it works! Bi-annually, our schools participate in the Coalition for a Drug Free Cincinnati PRIDE survey. The results of the survey are longitudinal. Our overall scores for students who smoke have decreased between 2001 and 2007.
- 8th grade usage went from 38.4% in 2001 down to 12.5% in 2007
- 9th grade usage held even (no increased which had happened in other years)
- 10th grade usage decreased from 39.3% in 2005 down to 24.8% in 2007
- 11th grade students decreased from 33.6% in 2005 down to 29.5 in 2007
- 12th grade students decreased from 34.8% in 2001 down to 32.3% in 2007
This is only once example of the tangible benefits of having a local health department that is committed to the citizens of Norwood. There are literally dozens of comparable programs/services I could tell you about. Although I am certain that the Hamilton County Health District would provide quality services, the scope and practice of those services will be greatly diluted. Such a strong level of investment of partnership is not highly likely from a county-wide service provider.
During this time of tightening our belts, I can certainly appreciate the interest in reducing the costs through the elimination of services. I would urge you as a Council to get creative. There certainly must be a way to continue these essential services to our community. I have faith that this Council can make that happen!
Family and Children First Coordinator
Norwood City Schools
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a pastor closing in on my second anniversary in Norwood. During this time, I have made it a top priority in my ministry to ensure that people’s needs are met in real and tangible ways. During this time, I have used the Health Department as a resource to help meet these needs. Due to the fact that I am otherwise engaged tonight and that I trust there are many prepared to speak in favor of the Health Department and its services, I would like to share one story, of many, in which the Health Department has helped a parishioner of mine, as well as a personal testimonial.
Jennifer is a nursing student. She is not poor; but she is a full-time student, a full-time mom, and a part-time cook at a national restaurant. She is counting pennies to make sure that her three kids are provided for a swell as paying for school to secure her family’s future. I admire Jennifer for this. She was told before an internship that she needed to get a series of vaccines or she would be taken out of the internship and allowed the opportunity to continue her studies a year from then. She would be unable to afford traditional health care in time to get the first of these shots, so she turned to the Health Department. Our Health Department stepped in and helped Jennifer, the do-it-all mom, make sure that she could complete her education. What a testament of a wonderful civic service!
I have also used the Health Department. In January, my wife and I delivered our first child in our driveway here in Norwood. Because the hospital had sent us home, we did not have a traditional birth with a doctor in a labor room. As such, the hospital would not issue a birth certificate. The Health Department has guided us through this unusual circumstance to make sure that Mackenzie, our daughter, has a Social Security Number and a Birth Certificate. I dread to imagine how this would have worked out without the help of a top-class Health Department.
Health Departments are a central agency for any top-class city. As we continue to work together to energize, equip, and improve Norwood, we must do so with a fully funded Health Department. It is a necessary resource for us to be who we are. Please remember this as you decide the fate of this vital service.
Rev. Timothy J. Brooks
Norwood Church of the Nazarene