Today the City of Waco was named as one of just eight runners up in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge). As a runner up, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District received $25,000 to continue their work to improve health outcomes in Waco.
The Challenge is a collaboration between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) empowering 50 small to midsize U.S. cities and counties to make measurable, scalable improvements to public health issues in their local communities. Since its inception, $1.5 million in grants and prizes have been awarded to the 50 participating programs to support their efforts to tackle the most pressing health issues facing their communities.
Through the Challenge, the Health District worked with local partners to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables in Waco by:
• Offering Monthly cooking demonstrations at our local farmer’s market and Healthy Soul food and Tex-Mex demonstrations at community centers and churches;
• Adding more locations of a local mobile farmer’s market, Veggie Van, which transitioned into the Veggie Prescription program in collaboration with Family Health Center;
• Working with the Downtown Farmers Market to offer Double Dollar SNAP benefits;
• Supporting Mission Waco to open a non-profit grocery store featuring low cost healthy foods and nutrition educators on staff; and
• Utilizing a Community Health Worker Program to connect residents to healthy eating resources.
“We recognize to solve our most pressing public health issues, we have to start at the local level – acknowledging the solutions to our problems are as diverse as the communities facing them,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation, an independent philanthropic arm of CVS Health, which is working to deliver on the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health. “It is our hope the outstanding achievements of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District will serve as a catalyst for collaboration in local communities around the country working to move the needle in combating health disparities.”
The awarding of the Challenge prizes, funded by the Aetna Foundation, is part of a $100 million commitment by CVS Health and its affiliates to making community health and wellness central to the company’s charge for a better world. The new Building Healthier Communities initiative, which will be funded over five years by CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations, builds upon the outstanding tradition of community investment by CVS Health and Aetna and helps to advance CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health.
For more information on this announcement, visit www.healthiestcities.org and join the conversation at #HealthiestCitiesChallenge.
Waco, Texas (October 12, 2018) – Results of environmental sampling conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District (WMCPHD) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) found evidence of Naegleria fowleri, a free-living ameba (single celled organism) that causes Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, a rare and devastating brain infection with an over 97% fatality rate at the BSR Cable Park and Surf Resort (BSR). A New Jersey resident who had visited BSR this summer died after contracting the disease. Epidemiologic and environmental assessment indicate that exposure likely occurred at this facility.
N. fowleri was identified in the Cable Park but not specifically found in the Surf Resort, Lazy River, or the Royal Flush on the day of sampling. Although the N. fowleri was not detected in the Surf Resort, Lazy River, or the Royal Flush, the presence of fecal indicator organisms, high turbidity, low free chlorine levels, and other ameba that occur along with N. fowleri indicate conditions favorable for N. fowleri growth. For additional information, refer to the attached Environmental Microbiology Laboratory report.
The BSR water venues known as the Surf Resort, Lazy River, and the Royal Flush are currently closed and will not re-open without consultation with the WMCPHD and not before all health and safety issues have been addressed and mitigated appropriately. The Cable Park may remain open to the general public because the risk of exposure to N. fowleri is considered the same as any other natural bodies of freshwater and is not amenable to treatment. WMCPHD is working with the owner who is consulting with water treatment experts to evaluate the situation and develop a comprehensive water quality management plan to include current regulatory requirements.
The mission of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is to protect public health and safety. We appreciate the cooperation and assistance from the CDC and DSHS and will continue working diligently to address the issues raised by the report.
Flu activity reports will be posted weekly October 2018 through September 2019 for the 2018-2019 season.
Flu Activity Report for the week ending on 02-09-2019
Influenza-like illness: 503 Flu A: 789 Flu B: 67 Non-Differentiated (ND):199
Total (Flu A, Flu B and ND): 1055
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District encourages anyone with flu symptoms to seek medical care. If you are sick with flu-like symptoms and need care, please do not hesitate to seek treatment. Healthcare providers are available to ensure you receive appropriate treatment. Only a healthcare professional can diagnosis the flu and prescribe medications.
There are many options to choose from starting with a primary healthcare provider, hospital emergency departments, urgent care clinics and private emergency rooms. Please limit the number of family members you bring to the clinic. This will protect healthy family members from the possibility of exposure to the flu. If you need medical attention for non-emergency conditions and symptoms contact your primary care provider or go to an urgent care clinic.
The Health District and Prosper Waco have partnered with NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health, NYU Wagner, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Resource Network, to create a first-of-its-kind data visualization online tool that allows city leaders to view residents’ health by neighborhood – and take action!
At the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, we recognize the importance of proper disposal of sharps and medications for residents and for the environment. We do not offer services to aid in the disposal of syringes; however, safe disposal of needles may be easier than you think. Click here for recommendations provided by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on how to dispose of medical waste.
Check out this helpful video from the Solid Waste Department and Muncipal Information Department of the City of Waco.
Residents may also check with their prescribing physician for free sharps containers to aid in the storage of medical waste. Local pharmacies may also take back of any unused medication.
The 2016 Waco-McLennan County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) was conducted through a funding partnership with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, Providence Healthcare Network, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Hillcrest, and Baylor University Center for Community Research and Development.
The goal of the CHNA is to provide a comprehensive and unbiased profile of McLennan County, assess community health and risk factors, and identify access to care issues. The results will stimulate discussion and planning of projects to address health needs identified. Previous assessments have resulted in targeted health promotions and have supported numerous grant opportunities for the community.