100 years later: How the past made public health matter

By Courtney Midkiff - Contributing columnist



In 2019, the Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) celebrated two major milestones: the 200th Anniversary of our Home County (of which we are “obnoxiously proud”) as well as 100 Years of Public Health. 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of two legislative acts that shaped the future of public health in Ohio. The Hughes Act and Griswold Act, both enacted in 1919, established the modern-day organization of local health departments.

Public health, which connects us all, is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases including, but not limited to COVID-19. Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.

Public health professionals try to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services and conducting research—in contrast to clinical professionals like doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. Public health also works to limit health disparities. A large part of public health is promoting healthcare equity, quality and accessibility.

In general, public health has added 25 years to American life expectancy, reduced motor vehicle crash deaths by 90 percent, helped reduce sudden infant death rate by 50 percent, eradicated smallpox, increased vaccinations against polio and other preventable diseases, reduced tobacco use, and improved maternal and infant healthcare.

The Meigs County Health Department invites, you: our stakeholder to review our 2019 Annual Report, which can be accessed at www.meigs-health.com or by emailing courtney.midkiff@meigs-health.com. If you do not have Internet access, please contact us at 740-992-6626 and we will fax or mail you a copy.

In the report, you will see evidence of the MCHD’s commitment to quality improvement, performance management, accountability, transparency, and the capacity to deliver the Ten Essential Public Health Services. We proudly provide this report so that you can see that the MCHD is devoted to achieving the highest standards of public health practice and works diligently to demonstrate a consistent and continued commitment to strengthening community partnerships, which, in turn, enables us to better serve our communities

The MCHD expresses sincerest appreciation for your support of our team’s efforts to meet comprehensive public health expectations and duties. You are a valuable member of our team for one or more of the following reasons: you vote for our levy; pay property taxes; utilize or promote our services; comply with laws and regulations; award grant funding or share other resources including your time, feedback, expertise; etc. Public health truly requires a team effort to be successful.

Please know that we are honored to work with you to prevent, promote and protect the health and well-being of Meigs County residents. The MCHD encourages all Meigs County residents to remember the valuable contributions of public health to the general welfare of our nation, our state and local communities in which we work, play and worship.


By Courtney Midkiff

Contributing columnist

Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the Meigs County Health Department Administrator.

Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the Meigs County Health Department Administrator.