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Jepson bio a joke

The Chris Jepson column has a “Who is Jepson” bio each week. Is the line “embraces diversity of opinion” supposed to be a running joke? Surely he can’t be serious. The only embracing of diverse opinion that I have noticed could better be described as a chokehold.

Could you cite examples of his “embracing diverse opinion”? Perhaps he means diverse opinion from Liberals only, certainly not from Conservatives. As for me, I shall continue to enjoy the column just to the right of his.

—Gene Smallwood

Winter Park

Health battles you can win

This year the Orange County Health Department is emphasizing the need to focus on six top public health priorities in order to make our community healthier and safer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified these public health priorities as “Winnable Battles”, since they are health problems where public health can make a significant impact in a short period to improve health outcomes, save money and save lives. The goal will also focus on rallying community support to continue to address these priorities as well.

While these Winnable Battles have recently been identified, the Orange County Health Department has been working for years to win the fight with these public health issues. They are:

-Health care-associated infections

-HIV

-Motor vehicle injuries

-Obesity, nutrition and food safety

-Teen pregnancy

-Tobacco

The health department has numerous programs and initiatives addressing each of these battles. For example, it has a program that targets HIV positive pregnant women to make sure the virus is not passed on to their newborns. Not one child born to the mothers in program has tested positive for HIV. Another example is an initiative to identify health care-associated infections in which health department staff worked with the CDC and state Department of Health to implement the appropriate laboratory testing to identify a type of organism at local hospitals that previously did not have the testing capability.

All of us can take steps to help fight these battles. For example, everyone should get a routine HIV test, don’t text and drive and if you smoke, try to quit. These three pieces of advice can save lives.

The Orange County Health Department’s charge under Winnable Battles is to identify optimal strategies and to rally resources and partnerships to accelerate a measurable impact on health and our economy. For more details on how the Orange County Health Department is working to win these public health battles, go to www.orchd.com

—Dr. Kevin Sherin

Director, Orange County Health Department