Healthy people, families, and communities.


Dalton (GA) – Public health officials consider immunization to be the best protection against vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza and pertussis, just to name just a few. Therefore, the Georgia Department of Public Health hosts an annual Immunize Georgia conference as a reminder of the importance of immunization and to give special recognition to Nancy Stackhouse, LPN, Cherokee County Health Department’s immunization outreach coordinator (left), is a 2013 Walt Orenstein Champion for Immunization Award recipient in recognition of her excellence in providing immunization care. Denise Bowman, RN, County Nurse Manager of the Cherokee County Health Department (right), nominated Ms. Stackhouse for the awardpublic health immunization champions for their leadership and influence in getting Georgians immunized.

At this year’s Immunize Georgia conference, two of the 2013 Walt Orenstein Champions for Immunization Awards – which honor individuals, agencies or coalitions that demonstrate excellence in providing immunization care – were presented to recipients from county health departments within the North Georgia Health District.

Nancy Stackhouse, a licensed practical nurse and Cherokee County Health Department’s immunization outreach coordinator, was recognized for her collaboration and partnership in the community as a champion for immunization.

According to Cherokee County Health Department Manager Denise Bowman, “Nancy deserves this honor because she is truly outstanding in her field. Last year, she was named Georgia’s 2012 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.”

The Whitfield County Health Department Children's Access Clinic was also recognized for ensuring that all recommended vaccines for children and adults are readily available to the community. In 2012, nearly 8,000 adults and children received a vaccine through the clinic, which totaled over 14,000 immunizations. Not only are immunizations provided iWhitfield County Health Department Children's Clinic received a 2013 Walt Orenstein Award for ensuring that all recommended vaccines for children and adults are readily available to the community. Children's Clinic staff pictured from left to right are Judith Ruedas, Joyce Bishop, Dianne Smith, Vickie Kitchings, Cindy Gilbert, Susan Chiddister, Trish Lanier, Karen Penland, Angie Callaway, Lourdes Covarrubias, Eunice Tull, and Nichole Snydern the clinic, but clinic staff administers vaccinations at churches, senior centers, schools, child care centers, businesses and physicians’ offices, as well.

Gayle Brannon, Manager of the Whitfield County Health Department, said, “The Whitfield County Health Department Children’s Clinic staff understands the importance of immunizations in preventing disease and they actively seek ways to assure access to preventive health care.”

For more information about the 2013 Walt Orenstein Champions for Immunization Awards and award recipients, go to

Deer Stand Cartoon for webI can name at least six personal friends who have been seriously injured in deer stand accidents. You probably can, too. By seriously injured, I mean that something got broken other than their pride. One friend broke both ankles and had to lie there all day until his family came looking for him that night. It rained and he was so cold he got hypothermia.

Surveys have shown that more than one-third of all deer stand hunters will fall from a stand some time in their lives. About half of those who fall will break a bone. About three percent of those who fall will suffer permanent injuries like paralysis. Doing something different and dangerous is part of the pleasure of hunting, but don’t be foolish. Here’s a typical real story of a hunter who was injured.

“I fell from a stand that I built in a tree four years before,” said the hunter. “I was climbing up into it to hunt, but had not checked to see if the steps were still solid. I was only about five feet off of the ground when one of the steps broke loose from the tree. The nails had rusted through. I ended up breaking my right arm at the elbow and it took eight weeks to heal. I also missed the entire hunting season. That’s the last time I ever used a homemade deer stand in a tree.”

Building your own tree stand from wood is a bad idea. And, okay, I’ve done it, too, but would not again. If you are going to build your own stand from wood, at least make certain that you only use treated wood. Don’t just nail steps up a tree made of pieces of two-by-four. This is by far the most dangerous way to get into a tree stand. And how will you know if wooden steps are still secure next year until you start climbing up?

Free and confidential Rapid HIV Testing is now available at the Cherokee County Health Department health centers in Canton and Woodstock. Testing is conducted on the second Tuesday of each month at the Woodstock Health Center at 7545 North Main Street and on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Canton Health Center at 1219 Univeter Road. Testing times at both locations are from 10 AM to 3 PM. Free prevention supplies are also available. The CDC recommends that everyone between ages 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime, and those at increased risk – such as gay and bisexual men, injection drug users, or persons with multiple sexual partners – should be tested at least annually. For more information, call the Woodstock Health Center at 770-928-0133 or the Canton Health Center at 770-345-7371.

Dalton (GA) Just as October is a month that signals the beginning of fall in North Georgia, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month – and once again this year, public health departments in the North Georgia Health District have spent October placing special emphasis on the early detection and prevention of breast cancer.

Throughout the year, health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties provide breast exams, breast self-exam instruction and counseling, and mammogram referrals. During October, Murray County Health Department successfully petitioned Chatsworth Mayor Dan Penland to proclaim October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Chatsworth, and health departments in Cherokee, Gilmer and Whitfield Counties wore pink as a reminder that breast cancer awareness saves lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. In the U.S. in 2010 – the most recent year numbers are available – nearly 207,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and almost 41,000 died from the disease.

Excluding some types of skin cancer, the CDC says that breast cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. women, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Men are not immune to breast cancer, although it is less common. For every 100 cases of breast cancer, less than 1 is in men. However, both men and women should adhere to self-exams and regular physical check-ups. When breast cancer is found early, many people go on to live long and healthy lives.

For more information about breast cancer and its prevention, call the nearest county health department (find phone numbers by clicking on the LOCATIONS tab above) or log onto the CDC website at

Cherokee County Health Department staff at Canton Health Center wears pink for Breast Cancer Awareness