Delco Transition Hosts Panel Discussion on the Merits of a County Public Health Department

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Regional public health leaders present expert recommendations during Jan. 12 presentation

Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor, Councilwoman Elaine Paul Schaefer and Councilwoman Christine Reuther joined regional public health leaders and members of the community on Jan. 12 at Elwyn during a panel discussion on public health in Delaware County. Unlike its surrounding counties of Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia, Delaware County does not have a county health department.

The panel focused on the merits of a county health department and included presentations from neighboring public health departments including Chester County Health Director Jeanne Casner, Montgomery County Health Administrator Brenda Weis, and former Philadelphia Health Department Commissioner Walter Tsou. The panel also included Rosemarie Halt; State and Senior Policy Director of the Maternity Care Coalition and Delaware County Medical Examiner Frederic Hellman.

Topics included the roles of county health departments in protecting public health, utilizing data for federal funding, and detailing the ways Delaware County would benefit from a county public health department and funding.

“The panel was an eye-opening and informative discussion regarding the role a county health department would play and the public health care needs of our residents,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “The health and wellbeing of our residents is a top priority of ours and we are listening to the community and bringing in partners from neighboring counties to help us make informed decisions.”

The crowd included members of the Delco Transition Public Health Working Group, members of the Delaware County League of Women Voters and members of the public.

The panel discussion was hosted by Delco Transition, created by the three newly elected Council members and two incumbent members to gather important information, identify key issues, and develop and recommend action plans regarding a wide range of issues and subjects relating to the governance and management of Delaware County. The panel discussion builds on the new majority’s commitment to include diverse voices in government decision-making which began when its transition team invited all interested citizens to submit a statement of interest and qualifications to join a Transition Working Group. More than 800 citizens applied.

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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