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DATE: March 2, 2012 3:16:51 AM PST

Letter to the Editor

Public health structure at the breaking point

For release March 2, 2012

As members of the Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board, we believe that Public Health is vital for safe drinking water and food, disease control, and services for children.

While our state focuses on economic recovery, cuts have reduced local public health services. More than $387 million and over 635 staff have been cut across local health jurisdictions.

In Whatcom County, cuts have reduced or eliminated public health services including tobacco prevention, oral health, WIC nutrition, communicable disease, and children’s services despite the fact that 3 out of 5 adults are overweight or obese, 1/4 of our 10th graders report clinical depression, and 1/3 of our lower income adults smoke.

Many are working to protect the infrastructure that is left at the local level. Within the next week, legislators will make final decisions on public health funding. State funding cuts shift responsibility for paying for public health services to cities and counties.

Take action by contacting members of the 40th and 42nd legislative districtsat 800–562–6000.  Ask them to: 1) Maintain current state funding for public health. 2) Support a dedicated state funding source for public health functions in all counties.

Sincerely,

Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board          

Contact Doug Benjamin, health@whatcomcounty.us 

Public Health Advisory Board Chair

 

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