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The Florida Department of Health in Polk County

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This paper focuses on our local health department and it provides to the Polk community. We first asked ourselves the purpose of health departments to start our research. Our sources include online and offline resources that proved to be more informative than we thought. The Florida Department of Health in Polk County offers a variety of services to the community such as health promotion and awareness programs. In our research, we gather information ranging from health disparities, behavioral risk factors, and prevalent diseases in the Polk community. We learn that sexually transmitted, obesity and mental health diseases are prevalent in Polk County. We gathered data and charts for more information to substantiate some of these claims. Our main goal of this paper is to provide an overview of what our local Health department does for the community.  

Polk Health Department

Purpose of Health Departments

Local health departments are very important to our communities. Health departments take on leadership in improving the health and well-being of the community. Protection is the main goal of health departments from threats such as disease outbreaks, contaminated drinking water, unsafe or inedible foods, and the quality of air. The health department also educates the community on healthier lifestyles including exercise, diet, antismoking, and improved hygiene to prevent illness. The health department also provides care and solutions to common problems within the community. These solutions include activities such as immunizations and programs such as Tobacco prevention. Health departments are advancing and developing new standards and policies to address current and existing issues in the community.

Healthy People 2020 is a program on a nationwide level that deals with health promotion and disease prevention goals set by the United States Department. For decades, Healthy People identifies the Nation’s health improvement priorities. Healthy People provides evidence-based, objectives for improving the health of all Americans that span a decade. Healthy People encourages collaborations across communities and sectors that empower individuals toward making informed health decisions. While Healthy People’s objective closely resembles the standards of Health departments, their goals include high quality of life, health equity; eliminate disparities, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.

From what we gather, our local health department follows the standards and policies as any other department. Polk Health Department offers the services as followed: Birth & Death Certificates, Breast & Cervical Cancer Care connection, Breast Feeding Support, Disease control and prevention, Family Planning & Birth Control Options, Healthy Environments, Testing and Permitting for water, Biomedical Waste, consumer safety, HIV/AIDS Care, Immunizations & Vaccines, Pregnancy testing, Refugee Health, School Health, Sexually Transmitted disease Testing & treatment, Tobacco Prevention, and Tuberculosis Prevention. These services are placed into three categories of preventive measures starting with primary, secondary, and tertiary. (Programs and Services. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2018).

Primary prevention is stopping the onset of illness before the disease process begins. The Polk Health department offers primary prevention in Health Assessments, Evidence-Based Outreach Education, Health Education, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.  Secondary prevention is early diagnosis and prompt treatment of a disease. For the Polk Health department, these secondary preventive services include Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), Rapid Test (Finger Stick), Blood Draw (Western Blot), Pregnancy, STD, and Disease Epidemiology. Tertiary prevention is improving the quality of life and reduce the symptoms of an acquired disease. (Programs and Services. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2018).

When researching the most prevalent disease in the Polk community, it was brought to our attention how the federal government creates and provides Health services based on the level of poverty in the populated area. Services that are eligible are federally qualified health center. Federal qualified health centers are community-based health care providers financially supported by the HRSA Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas. These facilities provide care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients. Federally Qualified Health Centers may be Community Health Centers, Migrant Health Centers, and Health Care for the Homeless and Health Centers for Residents of Public Housing.

The Florida Department of Health offers a Minority Health and Health Equity program that focuses on the poor health outcomes of minorities and compares the data to the general population of Florida. The minority populations tend to experience higher rates of illness from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Obesity and Mental health. Another program offered is the Closing the Gap Grant, which serves to utilize grants to stimulate the development of communities to improve health outcomes of racial and ethnic populations and promote disease prevention activities.

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