NOTE: The Health Council meets this coming Thursday at 9 a.m. and the meeting is open to the public.
During this pandemic, friends in Yolo County have been asking me serious questions like "who is in charge over there?!".
Good question to ask when we are being asked/"ordered" to shut down our personal and business lives in a fundamental way in order to save lives and help keep people healthy.
So, I have previously posted information that Brian Vaughn, MPH is the Yolo County Health Department Public Health Director. And I recently posted an interview with Dr. Aimee Sisson, MD, MPH who is Yolo County's Health Officer. And I have noted that Yolo County has not one but TWO PhD level County Epidemiologists. And now I am going to tell you about the Yolo County Health Council.
Yolo County Public Health Department is fortunate in that it has an advisory board called the Yolo County Health Council. Their information is available here: https://www.yolocounty.org/health-human-services/boards-committees/health-council
The purpose of the Health Council is to advise the Health Department. You see, public health typically takes on complex issues like communicable disease; chronic disease; violence prevention; health disparities and discrimination; poverty (poverty is HUGE in causing bad health status, making us sick!!); care for the elderly and disabled; health education; etc etc with an emphasis on prevention. Medicine is more focused on after the fact "sick care" but Public Health is focused on prevention. Not that good physicians and other clinical providers don't help with prevention, they do. But their main focus is on healing the sick whereas public health focuses on preventing illness and death in the first place. (There is some overlap and some of my clinician friends like to argue with me on this point and they are entitled to their opinion.).
Anyway, given the complicated, multi-factorial nature of public health, it is smart to have a broad and deep advisory body. And Yolo County does!
The membership composition is this (I borrowed this information right off the County web page):
25 Voting members made up of:
- 5 members appointed, one by each Supervisor (Board Appointed)
- 3 At-Large members (Board Appointed)
- 9 Members, one from each of the following health care systems
- CommuniCare Health Centers
- Elica Health Centers
- Kaiser Permanente
- Partnership HealthPlan of California
- Sutter Davis Hospital
- UC Davis
- Winters Health Care
- Woodland Health Care
- Northern Valley Indian Health Services
- 8 Members, one from each of the following County committees
A current roster can be found HERE.
So, you can see that this is a very broad-based group with LOTS of expertise. Health Officials in our County are very smart when they listen to the Health Council.
You may want to ask yourself:
- Do I know anybody on the Health Council?
- Should I get in touch with that person to find out what's going on?
- What is the Health Council doing?
- Can I attend Health Council meetings?
- Does the public have an opportunity for input at Health Council meetings?
You may notice from the Membership Rules that a number of the members of the Health Council are appointed by members of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. That's right, the Board of Supervisors uses its authority to appoint members to this advisory group so that their representatives can provide oversight and advice to the Yolo Health Department.
Ultimately, I guess, the "powers that be" start and end up with the Board of Supervisors. We elect them, they work for us. (You did pay attention to the election for Board of Supervisors, right? And you voted for someone "public health savvy" like I did?). My personal opinion is that we have had some good leadership on the Board of Supervisors, with Gary Sandy being the current chair. Jim Provenza will take over as Chair on January 2nd. IMHO Mr. Provenza also has a good balance of public health and pro-business instincts and expertise and we are going to need that going forward. BIG TIME!
Anyway, the Health Council meets this Thursday morning from 9-11 and the public is invited.
PS Just because you, as a member of the public, are invited does not mean you will be allowed to make a donkey out of yourself. If you are going to make a statement, please be prepared, be polite, be concise, and be patient. This is still a "novel" coronavirus and we are all learning and doing our best to deal with it. ASSUME that people are doing their best until they show you otherwise, but always be ready to make a contribution.
It is also fine just to limit your participation to listening quietly while you learn more about the Council and more about public health issues in our region. Frankly, you have more credibility if you speak after you have "done your homework" rather than just blabbing for ego purposes. The Health Council meets monthly on the schedule below: