Monmouth County Health Department
Members of the county Health Department team stand ready to assist
residents and communities with public health issues.
The Monmouth County Health Department is a regional public health agency for Monmouth County that promotes preventative health measures in addition to providing support and services for emergency and environmental issues.
What this means to residents is that the county Health Department is an advocate for healthy living. The staff travels all over the county in its year-round efforts to conduct screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, oral cancer, lead poisoning as well as PAP smears and breast exams.
They also provide services for the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted disease and home visits by public health nurses that help pregnant women and young children receive comprehensive health, nutrition and social support and assessment as needed. These services are provided directly to residents of member towns for free or for a very low cost.
The department’s commitment to public health is also concerned with threats to the overall health of the county. The county Health Department provides 24-hour response to hazardous material spills, oversees the management and disposal of household hazardous waste materials at the county Reclamation Center in Tinton Falls and keeps tabs on communicable and infectious diseases by having a full-time epidemiologist on staff.
The epidemiologist was an important team member during the Health Department’s oversight of the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 influenza. The epidemiologist and other staff members worked with doctor’s offices, the county’s five hospitals, the state Department of Health and Senior Services and the national Center for Disease Control to track and monitor the H1N1 outbreak in the county.
As the designated lead public health agency in the county, the Health Department coordinated efforts with state and local partners to monitor the health of Monmouth County residents. The department received the strategic national stockpile of medicines and equipment such as gloves and masks for distribution. Sixty-seven health professionals and 300 Medical Reserves Corps volunteers helped the department vaccinate 16,000 residents and distribute more than 50,000 pieces of equipment while also reminding residents to wash their hands, cover their coughs and to stay home if they were sick.
Information about the dozens of ongoing initiatives provided by the department is available on the Health Department’s section of the county Web site or by calling 732-431-7456.
Here’s a sampling of the clinical and preventive health programs:
- Lead awareness – High levels of lead exposure in children can result in lifelong health issues. Under several programs, the county Health Department educates and assists with efforts to reduce lead exposure by screening children for elevated levels of lead, identifying toys that may contain lead and eliminating lead paint in the home.
- Healthy Traveler Program – If you are planning a trip to an international location, this program can help you know what immunizations are recommended for your destination. Individuals or families requiring the above services are encouraged to call for information or to schedule an appointment.
- Immunization Services – Childhood immunizations are provided free to children from birth to 18 years old who have no insurance or are underinsured. Adults can receive seasonal influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis immunizations.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Clinic – Services include a physical examination and diagnostic services by a physician or physician assistant with treatment as needed. Comprehensive STD education and risk factor counseling is also provided along with assistance with partner notification.
- Health Education Ambassadors – Because public health and safety are important, the Health Department enlists Health Education Ambassadors to encourage every resident and household in Monmouth County to prepare for emergencies. A personal action plan is an investment in a family’s security and these volunteer ambassadors can help you create a usable, efficient and effective action plan.
In the area of emergency preparedness, the county Health Department is involved with the following:
- Hazardous Materials Response Team (Haz-Mat) – The Monmouth County Haz-Mat Team is available around the clock to respond and to remediate hazardous material incidents in the county. Team members are well-trained to safely handle dangerous substances of all types.
- Infectious Disease Control & Surveillance – Surveillance is the ongoing assessment of the health of a community through the timely collection, interpretation and use of health-related data on communicable diseases. They investigate outbreaks and institute control measures to prevent spread to the community.
- Local Information Network and Communications System LINCS – LINCS is an extension of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) initiative known as the Health Alert Network (HAN). The system is used to routinely transmit health alerts and emergency information electronically to community stakeholders. As one of the 22 designated LINCS agencies in the state, the county is responsible for distributing countywide emergency preparedness materials and public health information.
To keep up with environmental and consumer health issues the county Health Department oversees a number of programs, including:
- Food Surveillance and Sanitation – Food establishments must operate in accordance with the New Jersey Sanitary Code and are inspected at least once a year. The Department also investigates citizen complaints and takes enforcement action to ensure compliance with sanitary standards.
- Body Art Procedures – Businesses that perform tattooing, permanent cosmetic procedures and ear/body piercing are regulated by the state Sanitary Code to ensure that adequate sterilization, sanitation, and safety standards are maintained. Inspectors conduct yearly inspections and investigate complaints.
- Inspection Program – Health Department inspectors conduct compliance monitoring and leak detection inspections of more than 500 active regulated underground storage tank systems in Monmouth County. This includes gasoline retailers, government agencies, public utilities and industrial facilities. The staff also inspects all solid waste landfills, transfer stations, and recycling facilities to ensure compliance with all operational standards required by State law.
- Monitoring, control and complaint programs – The Health Department routinely conducts site visits at gas stations, dry cleaners, and other establishments to determine air and noise compliance with state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. Programs also respond to citizen complaints of indoor air quality, radon, odors, noxious weeds, housing, solid waste, insects, rodents, and malfunctioning plumbing or septic systems. Additionally, Environmental Health Specialists are on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergency complaints such as sewage overflows, disease outbreaks and fires at food establishments.
- Rabies Control – Rabies vaccination programs for dogs and cats are held throughout the year. Specific dates and locations can be obtained by calling the health department.
The Monmouth County Health Department professional staff, under the leadership of Michael Meddis, is comprised of a group of highly trained individuals in areas of hazardous materials response, public health nursing, environmental health, epidemiology, computer technology and health education. Additionally, the department contracts with physicians, x-ray technologists, nurse practitioners and nursing agencies to assist in the provision of its services.
The Health Department’s team of dedicated individuals is highly regarded by local health partners as well as the state departments of Community Affairs, Environmental Protection, Health and Senior Services and the Office of the Attorney General. In addition to receiving grant funds from these agencies, the Health Departments staff is often invited to participate on state level task forces and speak at state wide conferences.
Recently, the Monmouth County Health Department was the only county public health agency to pass a state audit that measured compliance with public health practice standards. The county scored 100 percent on that audit. Another audit that measured the county Heath Department’s readiness to respond to a public health emergency; here, the county scored 94 percent.
Residents living in the following towns are covered by the Monmouth County Health Department: Aberdeen, Allentown, Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Avon, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Hazlet, Howell, Lake Como, Manasquan, Marlboro, Matawan, Millstone, Neptune, Neptune City, Oceanport, Ocean Grove, Roosevelt and Union Beach.
To find out more about the Monmouth County Health Department, visit the department's Web site or call 732-431-7456. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Medical Reserve Corps or a Health Education Ambassador, let the Health Department know.