Crawford County to hire public health educator

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Crawford County Health and Human Services Department will be getting a public health educator following the county’s personnel committee meeting today (Jan. 9).

“I’m super excited to get somebody,” said Public Health Officer Cindy Riniker. “We’ve been working with a skeleton crew for quite awhile.” Riniker said the health department has three full-time people and will now add a fourth who will focus on educating the public about health concerns. The position is budgeted for. Also, the health department had four full time employees in the past.

“This position should be out in the community much more, including the schools,” said Riniker. She said the public health educator is a new position and will help promote individual and community health by leading community health planning initiatives. Responsibilities will include assisting in developing and implementing community health assessment and planning in collaboration with Health and Human Services Department staff, staff in other Crawford County departments, community stakeholders, elected officials and community partners.

The public health educator will focus on projects related to the needs of the community. He or she will write grants and create work plans to meet those needs. The public health educator will go to the schools in the county, meal sites and other community outreaches. Also, if an organization or group wants to offer a health-related presentation, the public health educator will be available.

Projects coming up in 2019 in the schools, said Riniker, will involve health education about vaping, suicide awareness and suicide prevention.

Riniker said the public health educator will also participate in the assessment of the community and survey target groups. The educator will analyze data pertaining to public health issues in the county to help drive services and education.

Along with conducting programs in a variety of community settings, the public health educator will serve as a consultant, trainer and resource person for health education, marketing, facilitation and evaluation.

This position will provide leadership and direction to diverse individuals and groups in the context of a natural disaster, public health emergency, bioterrorism or other incidents. He or she will serve in primary or back-up roles for environmental health investigation, follow up and communicable disease investigation and response.

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