Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcoming Spring!

Well, here in New England, the colder days are slowly being outnumbered by the warmer ones, (emphasis on slowly). The mornings can be quite nippy and the nights still drive the mercury down. However, the crocuses are up, the birds are returning, windows are opening and people are out with their bicycles and running shoes in droves.

With my new job being right downtown, I plan to take advantage of the warm weather by doing outreach to local businesses, visiting churches, and making inroads to various groups within our community. I find that many individuals and organizations have no idea what the local Health Department does, and most people don't even know that our town has a Public Health Nurse. In fact, some nearby towns have no nurse to call their own, so we are especially blessed to have such a well-funded Health Department.

Our Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) chapter has historically been relatively small, usually between 30 and 40 members, only a fraction of whom are actively involved on a regular basis. Although our title emphasizes the medical aspect of our mission, all MRC chapters welcome laypeople and non-medical professionals into our midst, since a diversity of talents and strengths is indeed important in emergent situations. Thus, we are actively recruiting veterinarians, clergy, business owners, IT professionals, HAM radio operators, and any other people who are simply interested in being of service when the proverdial feces hits the fan.

While members of the MRC are all trained to respond to emergencies and lend a hand when police, fire and other entities are overwhelmed (MRC's have assisted in hurricanes, floods, fires, and other incidents), we also like to do community outreach and emergency preparedness education. Thus, some of my Springtime efforts will include outreach to seniors, church groups, civic organizations (like the Knights of Columbus), and private and public groups of all sizes and persuasions.

Beyond that, working in town also gives me a route by which to take the "pulse" of the town, talk to people about my work, and enlist community partners in improving public health in its myriad aspects.

Spring has certainly sprung, and I want to take advantage of the pervasive feeling of optimism in the air, reaching out to those who might be willing to contribute to improving the overall health of our community.
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