It was a great day to be back meeting at The Pirates House!  President Laura Lane McKinnon welcomed all and said how nice it was to be meeting in person.  As a reminder, we will continue to only have IN PERSON meetings for the foreseeable future.  Once all business items were discussed, our speaker for the day, Tammi Brown, spoke to the group.  
Tammi is a Nurse Manager with the Chatham County Health Department and their mission is to improve the health of Georgia citizens.  60% of their clients are children and they are the only health department in the state to employee a Full Time Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  Tammi said most people think of the Department of Health as the place that gives shots and vaccines for travel.  However, they do so much more.  The Georgia Department of Health is split into three services: Clinical (shots and preventative services), Environmental (inspection of pools, restaurants, food trucks, etc) and Vital Records (birth and death certificates).  The Chatham County Health Department employs around 100 people with the majority of them being on the clinical side. 
The Chatham County Health Department offers a wide range of programs including a dedicated HIV program (it is the 3rd largest in the state), pediatric dental clinic, and Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC).  The WIC program is a special nutrition program that helps provide nutritional education, food vouchers, and breastfeeding support for eligible families.  WIC also provides comprehensive women's health services.  The Department of Health is in charge of helping individuals (fragile people, people with disabilities) evacuate the county in case of emergency.  They provide drive by flu vaccination clinics which was helpful in dealing with this pandemic.  They also have an epidemiology group that helps with contact tracing.  Tammi likes to call this group "the disease detectives."
The impact of COVID-19 on public health has been felt by all employees.  They have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic only receiving Thanksgiving and Christmas off of work.  Their resources have been stretched quite thin especially since public health only receives a small percentage of the state budget.  Also, some services had to be halted during this time.  Currently, the health department has administered 63,000 vaccines and 29% of our county has been vaccinated.