Accomplishments for 2023
The Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District logged several significant accomplishments in the past year to improve the health and well-being of Abilene-area residents. Among them:
- The Health District partnered with the Trent and Merkel Independent School Districts to implement school garden programs through an obesity prevention program. Merkel ISD will add an additional raised bed garden in the fall of 2023 to help supply the school district cafeteria as well as the school Ag store they are hoping to implement.
- The Health Department staff has worked diligently to build and promote the abirebuildhealth.org website, which includes useful and interactive materials to improve and sustain healthy lives.
- Because breastfeeding is a proven strategy to reduce the incidence of obesity, ATCPHD partnered with Dyess Air Force Base to assist it in the process of applying for the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite (TMFW) designation. Dyess has been designated as a TMFW as of March 9, 2023.
- The Health District also partnered with the Primal Pet Group to establish a lactation room at its facility, create a policy to support breastfeeding moms, and apply to become a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite.
- An Active Living Plan was developed and adopted by the Abilene City Council to increase physical activity and decrease obesity and chronic illness rates in the community. This was made possible by the collaborative partnerships of multiple stakeholders.
- Obesity prevention grant staff installed two bike racks at locations that serve low-income individuals, City Lights and Chavez Recreation Center. Each location serves individuals whose main forms of transportation are walking and biking. Providing a bike rack gives those individuals a safe location to store their bikes while receiving services.
- Improved the quality and safety of care for patients visiting the Health Department by implementing a new electronic healthcare record system. This new system will automate some billing functions and improve its ability to extract meaningful data to monitor disease trends within its patient population. It also improves the efficiency of patient services and management.
- In accordance with new state guidelines that prohibit establishments from having to pay a food permit fee and an alcohol permit fee, the health department has streamlined alcohol licensing requirements for food establishments by making applications available online, reducing the administrative burden for more than 400 local businesses.
- In an effort to protect public health and safety, the environmental health division conducted 2,200-plus food-related inspections. A total of 8,658 violations were discovered and corrected. The division also investigated 76 illegal human waste or wastewater discharges, abating potential disease transmission. It also conducted 214 complaint investigations and advocated for community concerns.