As a Meigs High School student in the early 1990s, I visited the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) with my biology class taught by Rita Slavin. We came to talk to the Environmental Health Division, which at the time consisted of Registered Sanitarians Keith Little, Zane Beegle and Jon Jacobs. Before this visit, I was like many of you might be – unfamiliar with the MCHD and the services offered. Little did I know then that I would establish a career at the MCHD and ultimately learn about and work to address the 10 Essential Public Health Services.
Approximately four years later, I was enrolled at Ohio University in the Bachelor of Science (Communication- Health and Human Services) Program. In 1996, I contacted then MCHD Nursing Director Norma Torres to offer my services during summer break in a volunteer capacity to gain experience. Talk about a divine connection! Norma was reluctant to take another college student under her wing because of a recent bad experience. Fortunately, she took a chance on me and, 23 years later, I thank God, Norma, former Administrator Jon Jacobs and the Board of Health to still be serving the residents of Meigs County.
My volunteer work centered mainly around scheduling ladies for The Ohio State University (OSU) and Riverside mobile mammography units. Meanwhile, I was given opportunities to learn about the MCHD and began assisting with clerical and reception duties during this time. Many dedicated and talented MCHD staffers “raised me” and I am grateful for each one. It was my honor to be awarded a contract to coordinate a Multiphasic Health Clinic for County residents. This was a three-day access to care clinic during which medical, dental and vision services were rendered to County residents at the MCHD by volunteer local practitioners. I still have relationships with many of those practitioners and patients today from these aforementioned experiences. By the way, the MCHD continues to work with OSU’s mobile mammography program to this day.
After graduating from OU in 1997 and while working via a contract with the MCHD’s Immunization Action Plan Program, I was employed as the full-time Nursing Clerk/Vital Statistics Deputy Registrar on Aug. 3, 1998. This was upon the retirement of then Vital Statistics Registrar Pearl Scott (now deceased) and the promotion of Edwina Bell, who assumed Scott’s position. I got to know many of you during the 16 years that I worked the MCHD reception desk in various capacities (Administrative Assistant, Assistant Administrator) based upon promotions. When Vital Statistics Registrar Edwina Bell retired in 2008, I was given the responsibilities of that position.
Throughout the years, I worked under the auspices of three Administrators/Health Commissioners. I worked two different Ohio Dept. of Health (ODH) grant positions: Tobacco Cessation and Public Health Infrastructure when MCHD general (levy) funds were insufficient to sustain operations.
My current position as MCHD Administrator began in January 2014. What does my job require? To act for the Health Commissioner to perform daily administrative duties in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3707; plan and direct the delivery of professional health services; develop, recommend, implement, and evaluate policies and procedures relevant to the provisions of health services and monitor compliance of same; review and update departmental personnel policies in cooperation with the Health Commissioner; evaluate programs for the health department; review and evaluate program objectives; establish priorities for services; HIPAA Coordinator; supervise and coordinate activities of administrative staff; orient, direct, and evaluate assigned staff; Interview prospective job applicants; make recommendations for the hiring of new employees; initiate actions for the termination of employees; discipline subordinates when necessary; revise job descriptions; sssist with fiscal reporting responsibilities when required, including but not limited to: annual cost reports, audits and program evaluations; provide direction and maintenance of fiscal contracts; assist in development and revision of records and data collection systems for health services; assist in preparation of grant applications with the cooperation of program supervisors; communicate both in speech and in writing and provide input and advice relative to the objectives and establish priorities for the efficient operation of the Board of Health; attend Board of Health meetings, record minutes, and stand in for the Health Commissioner in his/her absence; perform any other administrative or related duties as may be required by the Health Commissioner or Board of Health; respond to Public Health emergencies in absence of the Health Commissioner; develop and maintain professional and managerial expertise through appropriate educational opportunities and participation in professional organizations; develop and maintain cooperative relationships with other agencies and organizations; attend Local Emergency Planning Committee, Family and Children First Council, Meigs Health Care Coalition and Meigs County Community Prevention Coalition, Appalachian Translational Research Network Meetings; be the Get Healthy Meigs! facilitator and Child Fatality Review Board Coordinator; participate in regional Association of Ohio Health Commissioners meetings and other administrative regular meetings; coordinate and participate in accreditation preparation including Community Health Assessment, Strategic Planning, Quality Improvement efforts, Workforce Development, document selection, etc.; work with funeral homes, the public and other agencies; register home births and death certificates, fetal death certificates and certificates of service; issue certified copies of birth certificates and death certificates; issue burial permits to local funeral directors; maintain receipts; generate monthly reports and invoices; adhere to ODH Vital Statistics laws, policies, and procedures; oversee Deputy Registrar and Vital Statistics Clerk and ensure accuracy of vital records; oversee record retention and destruction policies; coordinate weekly shipment of records to ODH.
Over the years, I am proud to report that my work has been recognized. For example, in 2001, OU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine Community Service Programs (CSP) recognized me with a CSP award for outstanding service and collaboration with its Healthy Adult Project. In 2002, The Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Coalition honored me for my work in promoting early detection and prevention of these diseases with its fourth annual Janet Voinovich Service Award. I was selected as a member of the Appalachia Community Cancer Network Appalachia Ohio Community Advisory Board, which addressed cancer disparities and conducted community-based participatory research, and was active with the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Relay for Life Planning Committee and Volunteer Leadership Council (VLC) for many years. Even though the ACS no longer holds Relay for Life or VLC meetings in Meigs County, I get to continue to support cancer survivors and educate the public about the importance of early detection via efforts of the Meigs County Cancer Initiative, Inc.
In summary, it is a blessing and an honor to be able to serve the residents of my home County and to lead the great team of employees working for you at the MCHD. My job is a ministry, which I hope God continues well into the future.
At the MCHD, we continue to support workforce development and try to accommodate those seeking internships, preceptorships or other learning opportunities. We also address the social determinants of health and try to be a safety net for those in need. Please feel free to contact us (telephone 740-992-6626 or email Courtney.firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop by the MCHD Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Courtney Midkiff, BSC, is the Meigs County Health Department Administrator/Vital Statistics Registrar.