Monday, August 20, 2012

First Blog Post

Welcome to the first post on the Mid-Michigan District Health Department's (MMDHD) new blog.  I am Marcus Cheatham, the Health Officer.

I am very excited to have become the Health Officer of MMDHD, a role I've held for just under three months.  You may not know that, in public health circles in Michigan, MMDHD is regarded as a great assignment. My predecessor, Kim Singh, built a very high quality operation characterized by high levels of professionalism and attention to service and quality. The Board of Health of MMDHD is extremely engaged in driving the Department forward and ensuring our success, and I am grateful for their leadership.

Before coming to MMDHD I was Assistant Deputy Health Officer at the Ingham County Health Department. I rarely went north of the Clinton County line except for family vacations. While my wife, Debra, and I are maintaining our home in East Lansing for days when I work in Clinton County, we are renting a house in Sidney in Montcalm County about six minutes from MMDHD’s main office in Stanton, where I work most days. Getting to know people in the three counties we serve: Clinton, Gratiot and Montcalm has been wonderful.  The warm welcome we have received has been overwhelming. 

Finally, I have to say how fortunate I feel to be working with the employees at MMDHD.  Wherever you look in the Department, whether it is in clinical programs, environmental health, finance and administration or information technology you find outstanding, talented people.  I’m not just saying that—the main reason I applied to be health officer here is that MMDHD is a health department that is working. I hope the employees who built the Department feel proud of what they have accomplished.

With this blog, I hope to create a way for the Department to regularly communicate with the community about local public health issues and public policy related to health. The blog is intended encourage discussion and to inform residents about the value of what the health department is doing.  While the blog may occasionally contain health tips, its main purpose is not health education--there are plenty of sources for that--it is communication.  Rather than try to tell you everything going on in the Department every time I blog (which might be overwhelming—for you, too!), I will try to have a focus. I won’t be the only voice here; many of my Department colleagues will be featured in this blog.

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