Piedmont Health District gets recognition

Published 11:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Farmville-based Piedmont Health District has been recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) for its ability to plan for, respond to and recover from public health emergencies.

According to a press release, the district “demonstrated these capabilities by meeting the comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready (PPHR), a unique partnership between NACCHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Piedmont Health District joins a cohort of over 450 local health departments across the country that have been distinguished for excellence in preparedness through PPHR, either individually or as part of a region.”

“We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness,” said Dr. Alex Samuel, health director of the Piedmont Health District. “We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crisis in this planning district. Many people, both internal and external to our organization, came together to develop and maintain our emergency response plan. We strive to be a leader and key partner in community emergency preparedness and other public health disciplines. Still, the most important factor in determining whether we succeed in responding to an emergency will be the actions of our citizens in advance planning, cooperating with authorities and helping each other in a time of duress.”

“PPHR recognition confirms that Piedmont Health District has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency,” officials said in the release. “Local health departments recognized by PPHR undergo a rigorous evaluation by peer review to assess their ability to meet a set of national standards for public health preparedness. These standards align with federal government requirements and other national best practices.”

PPHR recognition also requires health departments to collaborate with their state, local and community partners to develop plans that account for all the constituents in their jurisdictions.

“Piedmont Health District closely collaborates with its local partners to prepare for, mitigate the effects of and respond to incidents that may affect the health of the nearly 145,000 residents that call the heart of Virginia their home, officials said.”

“When disaster strikes, it affects local communities, and local health departments are a critical part of any first response to disease outbreaks, emergencies and acts of terrorism,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, NACCHO executive director. “NACCHO commends Piedmont Health District for being a model of public health emergency preparedness.”

NACCHO, the voice of the 2,800 local health departments across the country, provides resources to help local health department leaders develop public health policies and programs to ensure that communities have access to vital programs and services that people need to keep them protected from disease and disaster, officials said in the release. “Its mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.”

Piedmont Health District serves Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg and Nottoway counties.