Cape Girardeau Public Health Center to participate in National Public Health Week

Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center Board of Trustees.
Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center Board of Trustees.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center Board of Trustees recently announced that the Health Center will observe National Public Health Week, April 1 through 7.

Each year the American Public Health Association sets aside this week to remind Americans about the importance of public health in their lives. The theme for this year is "Public Health is ROI: Return on Investment – Save Lives, Save Money." According to the American Public Health Association, "supporting evidence-based public health programs will result in healthier communities and reduced cost in treating diseases."

Jane Wernsman, Director of the Health Center said, "The success of public health services in Cape Girardeau County can be directly related back to the solid foundation that the Board of Trustees have provided."

Since the Health Center was established in 1986, it has been governed by a five member elected Board of Trustees. Dr. Michael Wulfers, Board Chair since 1992, Patricia Ray, Vice Chair since 2012, Pat Abernathy, Secretary since 1989, John Janssen, Treasurer since 1993, and Roland Sander, Trustee since 1997 have provided that solid guidance for the Health Center. With their insight and support, the Health Center has grown from a staff of just two employees to 34 full time and eight part time employees, expanded services to include at least 42 different health related services, and moved from a one room office into two new buildings totaling 14,600 square feet.

Public Health has a role in all of our lives – it's in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the places where we live, learn, work and play. Wernsman indicated that according to the Centers for Disease Control, the top Public Health achievements of the 20th century include:

Vaccinations – both childhood and adult—today vaccine-preventable diseases are at a record low in the United States, Polio has been eliminated in the Americas, Chickenpox and Hepatitis A have declined drastically

  • Motor Vehicle Safety – includes seat belt use, and wearing safety helmets
  • Safer Workplaces
  • Control of Infectious Diseases
  • Decline in Deaths from Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Safer and Healthier Foods
  • Healthier Mothers and Babies
  • Family Planning
  • Fluoridation of Drinking Water
  • Recognition of Tobacco Use as a Health Hazard
  • Occupational Safety
  • Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response

The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center will recognize National Public Health Week by hosting several special events which includes the following:

• Freedom From Smoking - April 5 (Friday) The Health Center will host community partners St. Francis Medical Center and the American Lung Association as they provide a display and information on their Freedom From Smoking program. Visitors will have the opportunity to sign up for upcoming classes.

• Tetanus and Pertussis Immunization - April 5 (Friday) Public Health Nurses will hold a walk-in clinic to provide Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis immunizations. Individuals should receive a Tetanus booster every 10 years and all adults should receive the pertussis booster at least once. Fortunately both of these immunizations can be given in one injection. Pertussis, at one time, was thought of as a disease of the past however it is much more common than what you might think. The Health Center has received a special grant to provide the Tdap Immunization, however if an individual has Medicaid, Medicare, or Private Insurance, those sources may be billed.

For more information about National Public Health Week and the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, call 573-335-7846 or visit the website at

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