2011 Year in review
San Antonio officially became a “smoke free city” in August, with the implementation of a comprehensive ordinance prohibiting smoking in all in-door and some out-door public places. This great step forward for the health of all happened almost seamlessly, due to careful planning and preparation and the excellent relationships formed over many years between Metro Health and local eating and drinking establishments.
New relationships with parks, public housing, police and others, a large infusion of federal stimulus funding and the great creativity and energy of SAMHD staff, were the basis for the accomplishments of our Communities Putting Prevention to Work effort. CPPW investments in neighborhood environments, facilities, equipment and active living programming served as an eye-catching inauguration for what will necessarily be a multi-year process that transforms San Antonio from “Fat City to Fit City.”
The above are two, very dramatic examples of how the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is improving the health of the community we serve. It would take pages to describe all the ways we do so. But in this small space I would especially like to recognize those who, over the past year, went above and beyond the call of duty to serve in times of uncertainty and stress. This often required filling in the gaps during changes in department leadership due to retirements, resignations, RIFs and acts of nature (like new babies). Their efforts (and they know who they are) are examples of local public health at its best. San Antonio presents great public health challenges but SAMHD has great resources to bring to bear and none greater than the fine people who we work with every day.
Thomas Schlenker, MD, MPH
For most of us, the holidays produce colorful memories we treasure for years – family get-togethers, gift exchanges and the feeling of joy that comes with the season. Indeed, it’s hard to fathom that during this time many children, instead of wishing for the latest toys, wish for family unity, a peaceful home or for their parent’s sobriety.
Every month, the Rainbow Room, an emergency resource center available to Child Protective Services caseworkers, helps approximately 700 children. Stocked with all new items, Rainbow Rooms provide clothing, shoes, underwear, baby formula, school supplies and hygiene items to children entering foster or relative care and children in their own homes who live below the poverty line.
This year, Metro Health is holding a drive to collect items for the Rainbow Room. Choose from the wish list below and bring your unwrapped gift to the Christmas tree in the director’s office at our main building. Help us make these children’s holidays a colorful one!
“When they take the children, parents don’t want to release any of their belongings because they’re angry because we’re taking custody,” says Mary Lou Rendon, coordinator for the Rainbow Room for Child Protective Services, adding that the number of children helped during the holidays rises because of stress and increased drug or alcohol use.
If you’re interested in helping deliver the donations to the Rainbow Room before the December holiday break, contact Carol Schliesinger at 207-8172 and thank you for your support. Happy holidays!
Rainbow Room Wish List:
- toddler clothing, male & female
- sweat tops/pants sizes 2 thru adult
- shirts/jeans sizes 2 thru adult
- formula, diapers, especially newborn & sizes 4 & 5, baby wash, lotion, powder, shampoo, infant pajamas, infant Onesies & shirts, baby wipes, bottles
- laundry detergent, dish detergent
- large garbage bags and sponges towels, washcloths
- blankets, sheets and pillowcases
- sleeping bags for homeless children
- adult shampoo, conditioner, soap, setting gel, makeup, cosmetics, deodorant
- jackets: all sizes
- school supplies & back packs
- school uniforms: all sizes
- shoes: all sizes
- new briefs & panties, all sizes
- bras: all sizes
- instant cameras, batteries
- gifts for teens
- lice shampoo
- combs, brushes, hair accessories
- activity books, color books
- educational toys for toddlers
- ladies hygiene products
To learn more about the Rainbow room, check out this short video of the facility: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUwCRrznDp0&feature=player_profilepage
In this issue...
The CDC recently assigned a new Public Health Prevention Service fellow and on October 3, Metro Health welcomed Christina Dahlstrom.
Wise Words of Thanks
Congratulations to Richard Jackson for his thoughtful and gratitude words that won the Wise Words of Thanks contest.
In the United States, prematurity or low birth weight is the second leading cause of all infant deaths and the leading cause of infant death among African-American babies.
New state legislation taking effect in January seeks to reduce the risk of meningitis infections among college students.
Metro Health, in partnership with the Center for Health Care Services, will host a free HIV testing clinic on December 1st ...
The exercise tested the collaborative response since it would be conducted by a collaboration of government, private and volunteer entities working within the City of San Antonio and Bexar County....