Healthy people, families, and communities.



NPHW2019 NGHD web header

About NPHW

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation's health, and the North Georgia Health District will highlight the public health work and services provided in CHEROKEE, FANNIN, GILMER, MURRAY, PICKENS and WHITFIELD COUNTIES!

What does you local Health Dept do in your Community web


Your local county health department coordinates with North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health to provide the best public health services to people, families and communities in the most effective way possible. Click HERE or on the graphic to learn more! 



For over 20 years, APHA has served as the organizer of NPHW. Every year, the Association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to each year's theme. APHA creates new NPHW materials each year that can be used during and after NPHW to raise awareness about public health and prevention.

Since the Affordable Care Act became law, the U.S. uninsured rate has dropped to record lows. But continued targeted attempts to dismantle the law include the recent repeal of the individual mandate. Our social safety net programs are being threatened with cuts and for the second year in a row, life expectancy in the United States has dropped. 

To ensure everyone has a chance at a long and healthy life, we must also tackle the underlying causes of poor health and disease risk. Those causes are rooted in how and where we live, learn, work and play. It’s the child who goes to school hungry and can’t take full advantage of the education that leads to a healthier, more productive adulthood. It’s the low-wage worker who must choose between losing much-needed income and staying home with a sick child. It’s the family that struggles to find nutritious, affordable food anywhere in their community. It’s the student who can’t walk to school because there are no sidewalks. These are the types of conditions that shape the health and well-being of our people and communities. 

Thankfully, we can do something. If we partner across public and private sectors to ensure decisions are made with people’s health in mind, we can build healthier communities and eventually, the healthiest nation. We can change our future together, but we need your help to get there. 

Join us in observing National Public Health Week 2018 and become part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation. We’ll celebrate the power of prevention, advocate for healthy and fair policies, share strategies for successful partnerships, and champion the role of a strong public health system.

Future National Public Health Week dates:NPHW19slide

        - April 6-12, 2020   apha logo

        - April 5-11, 2021

        - April 4-10, 2022

        - April 3-9, 2023

Questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. APHA publishes the American Journal of Public Health and The Nation’s Healthnewspaper. At our Annual Meeting and Expo, thousands of people share the latest public health research. We lead public awareness campaigns such as Get Ready and National Public Health Week. Together, we are creating the healthiest nation in one generation. Learn more at

Over 200 Attend

14th Annual Breastfeeding Conference in Dalton


NWGA Breastfeeding Conference 2019 photoDalton, GA – From across Georgia and beyond, over 200 individuals convened Wednesday, March 27th at the Dalton Convention Center for the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition Annual Conference, which began with a warm welcome from Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock.


“Lactation consultants, registered nurses, dietitians, La Leche League leaders, peer counselors and other professionals and volunteers who work with breastfeeding moms are here from Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama,” said Patty Spanjer, coalition president.


Now in its 14th year, the annual conference is an opportunity for participants to gain new knowledge and techniques for helping mothers fully reach their breastfeeding goals.


Carol Hendrix, WIC breastfeeding coordinator for the North Georgia Health District, said, “The goal of our coalition is to promote breastfeeding as the norm, and this conference helps us further promote the education for professionals in the field of lactation so that they can better serve breastfeeding families.”


According to Spanjer, breastfeeding is one of the most important gifts a baby can receive; and this year’s conference speaker, Marsha Walker, agrees.


“Human milk is the foundation of a person’s health,” explained Walker. “It’s important from the very beginning that we start off a baby with their immune system, brain development and other factors on the right trajectory, because whatever we start from the beginning, follows that person their entire life. In other words, we’re programming babies for health.”


An international board-certified lactation consultant to breastfeeding families since 1976, Walker spanned a wide range of subjects at the conference, including clinical challenges, advocacy, systems changes, and breastfeeding as a public health issue.


Executive Director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy, Walker is a prominent speaker and author of numerous publications, including works on the hazards of infant formula use and the book Breastfeeding Management for the Clinician: Using the Evidence.


For more information about the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition and the annual breastfeeding conference, log onto



Marsha Walker Bio


Walker is a registered nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant. She maintained a large clinical practice at a major HMO in Massachusetts, is a published author and an international speaker. Consulting with hospitals, providing in-service presentations, speaking at conferences and workshops and advocating for breastfeeding at the state and federal levels occupy her professional time. She is currently on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Lactation Consultant Association and is the Executive Director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy.


About the Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition. The coalition began on March 11, 1993 when the first official meeting was attended by 16 interested persons in Dalton, Georgia. The NWGABF Coalition has produced two DVDs. “Getting Started with Breastfeeding” and “Breastfeeding: A Guide to Success” See sales section. The NWGABF Coalition plans and hosts an annual conference for lactation specialists and professionals. The Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition meetings are attended by La Leche League Leaders, IBCLCs, WIC employees, doctors, dietitians, nurses and anyone interested in promoting breastfeeding. We meet once a month.


Pictured in the above photo from left to right: Carol Hendrix, IBCLC, WIC Coordinator for the North Georgia Health District poses with conference speaker Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant and Patty Spanjer, LLLL, IBCLC, President, Northwest Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition at the coalition’s 14th Annual Breastfeeding Conference at the Dalton Convention Center on March 27, 2019:


About Us: The North Georgia Health District is part of the Georgia Department of Public Health. One of 18 health districts in the state, the North Georgia Health District (District 1-2) is comprised of six counties: Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, and Whitfield. Many public health programs and services exist throughout the district, all of which are designed to meet the needs of the people of North Georgia. Learn more about us at, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Your One-Stop-Spot for School Students’ State Health Requirements!

Pickens Kindergarten RoundUp GraphicPrepare your child for the upcoming school year! The Pickens County Health Department is conducting a Kindergarten Round-Up Health Clinic on Tuesday, April 9th from 1 to 6 p.m. The health department address is 60 Health Way in Jasper, GA. The required Hearing, Dental, Vision and Body Mass Index (BMI) / Nutrition Screenings will be offered, and Immunizations for School-age Children will be provided. Medicaid (including Amerigroup, CareSource, Peachstate and Wellcare) and Peachcare for Kids will be accepted. For more information or to check on additional insurances accepted, contact the Pickens County Health Department at (706) 253-2821. See YOU at the Kindergarten Round-Up Health Clinic on April 9th at the Pickens County Health Department!

 Vaccines Available at County Health Departments in North Georgia

Preteen Vax Week 2019 web


North Georgia - Vaccinate your preteen today so they can have a healthy tomorrow.


In an effort to protect every adult and child, the Georgia Department of Public Health recognizes March 11 – 15, 2019 as Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week. This week serves as a reminder for parents to talk with their preteens and teens about getting immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases.


Public health departments located in the North Georgia Health District in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties encourage parents to make vaccinations a priority. Vaccines protect children from the dangers of preventable diseases and are available at health departments in each county. See contact information below.


According to the Georgia Department of Public Health Rule (511-2-2), all students born on or after January 1, 2002, entering or transferring into seventh grade and any “new entrant” into eighth -12th grades in Georgia need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination (called “Tdap”) AND an adolescent meningococcal vaccination (MenACWY). This law affects all public and private schools including, but not limited to, charter schools, community schools, juvenile court schools and other alternative school settings (excluding homeschool).


Vaccines are the best defense we have against serious, preventable and sometimes deadly contagious diseases. They help avoid expensive therapies and hospitalization needed to treat infectious diseases like influenza and meningitis. Immunizations also reduce absences both at school and after school activities and decrease the spread of illness at home, school and the community.


The CDC currently recommends the following vaccines for preteens and teens:


  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
  •  Influenza (flu)
  •  Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  •  Meningococcal Disease (MenACWY)


Georgia Preteen Vaccine Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness through schools, health care providers and the media regarding preteen immunizations, particularly Georgia’s pertussis and meningococcal requirements for incoming seventh-grade students. Speak with your health department or healthcare provider today to find out if your preteen is up-to-date.


For more information, click here




North Georgia Health District County Health Departments’ Addresses and Phone Numbers:


Cherokee County:  1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, (770) 345-7371; and

                                  7545 North Main Street, Ste. 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, (770) 928-0133

Fannin County:       95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, (706) 632-3023      

Gilmer County:       28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 635-4363       

Murray County:      709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, (706) 695-4585

Pickens County:      60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, (706) 253-2821

Whitfield County:   800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, (706) 279-9600

CherHD KindergartenRoundUp WebPost Mar2019

Cherokee County Health Department presents

Kindergarten Round-Up Health Clinic

March 19

Your One-Stop-Spot for School Students’ State Health Requirements!

CherHD KindergartenRoundUp flyer Mar2019 webPrepare your child for the upcoming school year! The Cherokee County Health Department is conducting a Kindergarten Round-Up Health Clinic on Tuesday, March 19th from 2 to 6 p.m. Locations for the health clinic will be at the public health department offices in both Canton and Woodstock. The required Hearing, Dental, Vision and Nutrition Screenings will be available for a total of $50. Immunizations will be provided to school-age children for $21.90 each (for uninsured or underinsured). Medicaid (including Amerigroup, CareSource, Peachstate and Wellcare), Peachcare for Kids, HUMANA, AETNA, United Health Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Ambetter, CIGNA and Coventry are accepted. The health department location in Canton is 1219 Univeter Road and the address in Woodstock is 7545 North Main Street. For more information, please call (770) 345-7371 in Canton or (770) 928-0133 in Woodstock.

BCW Comments web

DPH Letterhead image


Babies Can’t Wait Public Comments & Public Hearing

Notification to Families & Providers

Local Babies Can't Wait Contact: Lois Blockley

Telephone: (706) 529-5763

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Babies Can't Wait (BCW) Program is Georgia’s statewide early intervention system for infants and toddlers with special needs, aged birth to three, and their families. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency for administration of the BCW system. As required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C section 34 CFR §§303.110-303.113, “the State must publish its Part C application or policy in a manner that will ensure circulation throughout the State at least 60-days prior to the date on which the application or policy is submitted and allow an opportunity for public comments on the application or policy for at least 30 days during that 60-day publication period. In order to meet this requirement, BCW invites interested persons to participate in a 60-day public comment period for the Grant Application FFY 2019, and Fiscal Policies from March 1, 2019 to May 1, 2019. The public may review the grant application and revised policy online ( or at locations throughout the state and comment in four ways:


(1)  Written comments will be received until May 1, 2019:

Babies Can’t Wait

Attn: Akilah Heggs Lee, Part C Coordinator

2 Peachtree Street NW, 11th Floor

Atlanta, GA 30303-13422


(2)  Email comments will be received until May 1, 2019

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Subject line: Part C or Public Comment)


(3)  Facsimile comments will be received until May 1, 2019

State BCW Office Fax: (404-657-2773) Attn: Akilah Heggs Lee


(4)  In Person verbal comments at a Public Hearing



March 14, 2019 3:30 – 5:30 Macon District Office, 201 Second St., Macon, GA 31201

March 21, 2019 3:30 – 5:30 Dekalb District office, 440 Winn Way, Decatur, GA 30030

March 28, 2019 3:30 – 5:30 Dalton District Office, 1710 Whitehouse Ct., Dalton, GA 30720


DPH invites interested persons to attend Public Hearings and present public comments. To allow an opportunity for all to be heard, comments will be limited to five minutes.


Please address any questions regarding the public comment period and public hearings to the local BCW contact listed at the top of the page.



 DPH Letterbottom imageDPH Logo

 Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

March is National Nutrition Month web

It can sometimes feel as if we’re bombarded with information about the latest eating trend or buzzworthy ingredient. But good nutrition is really about having a well-rounded diet, and it’s easier to do than you may think. In fact, living a nutritious lifestyle can be easy and fun.

Nutrition is about more than vitamins—it also includes fiber and healthy fats. March is National Nutrition Month®, a perfect time to learn simple ways to help your whole family eat healthier.

Add healthy fats.

Not all fats are bad. Foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are important for your brain and heart. Limit foods with trans fats, which increase the risk for heart disease. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, seeds, certain types of fish, and avocados.

Avocados are full of healthy fats. Top a salad or try some avocado in your morning smoothie.

Try this:

  • Top lean meats with sliced avocado, or try some avocado in your morning smoothie.
  • Sprinkle nuts or seeds (like slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds) on soups or salads.
  • Add a fish with healthy fats, like salmon or tuna, into your meals twice a week.
  • Swap processed oils (like canola or soybean oil) for oils that are cold-pressed, like extra-virgin olive oil and sesame oil.

Cut the sodium.

Good nutrition is about balance, and that means not getting too much of certain ingredients, such as sodium (salt). Sodium increases blood pressure, which raises the risk for heart disease and stroke. Most Americans consume about 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day.1 This is much more than the recommended amount of 2,300 mg per day (about one teaspoon of salt) in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.2

Try this:

Bump up your fiber

Fiber in your diet not only keeps you regular, it also helps you feel fuller longer. Fiber also helps control blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels.3,4 Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (beans and peas) are good sources of fiber.

Try this:

  • Slice up raw veggies and keep them in to-go baggies to use as quick snacks.
  • Start your day off with a high-fiber breakfast like whole grain oatmeal sprinkled with pecans or macadamia nuts.
  • Steam veggies rather than boiling them. When buying frozen veggies, look for ones that have been “flash frozen.”
  • Add half a cup of beans or peas to your salad to add fiber, texture, and flavor.
  • Replace chips and dips with cherries and berries.

Fruit cdcAim for a variety of colors on your plate.

Foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals.

Try this:

  • Sprinkle fresh herbs over a salad or whole wheat pasta.
  • Make a red sauce using canned tomatoes (look for “low sodium” or “no salt added”), fresh herbs, and spices.
  • Add diced veggies like peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets to give them a boost of color and nutrients.



                                More Information                                 

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month 2019 web

What is Colorectal Cancer Screening?

A screening test is used to look for a disease when a person doesn’t have symptoms. (When a person has symptoms, diagnostic tests are used to find out the cause of the symptoms.)

Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Screening Guidelines

Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendsExternal that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. The Task Force recommends that adults age 76 to 85 ask their doctor if they should be screened.

The Task Force recommends several colorectal cancer screening strategies, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy). Learn about these screening tests.

When Should I Begin to Get Screened?

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then continue getting screened at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier than 50, or more often than other people, if—

If you think you are at increased risk for colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about—

  • When to begin screening.
  • Which test is right for you.
  • How often to get tested.

Insurance and Medicare Coverage

Most insurance plans and Medicare help pay for colorectal cancer screening for people who are 50 years old or older. Colorectal cancer screening tests may be covered by your health insurance policy without a deductible or co-pay. For more information about Medicare coverage, visit www.medicare.govExternal or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1 (877) 486-2048. Check with your insurance plan to find out what benefits are covered for colorectal cancer screening.