Officials addressing cancer, chronic disease and obesity

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, November 7, 2013

Beaufort County health officials are working hard to address major health issues in the county, according to the county’s new health director.

James Madson, who took over at the Beaufort County Health Department on Sept. 23, explained the purpose of the State of the County’s Health report to the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners on Monday. Madson then introduced Kelli Russell, a preparedness coordinator and human-resources planner III at the department.

Russell said the report contains information taken from 1,100 surveys, “which is pretty impressive considering that it was a 10-page survey.”

“We identified that cancer, chronic disease and overweight/obesity were at the top three concerns in our area,’ she said. “From there, what we wanted to do was create a strategic plan. Our strategic plan with the health department runs from 2012 to 2015. … Our goals are five — prevention and management of chronic diseases, specifically diabetes, respiratory disease and heart disease. Second is prevention and management of obesity. Prevention and management of cancer is third. Fourth is control of communicable diseases. Lastly, five, to provide the most-effective and efficient services to our community.”

The SCOTCH report shows heart disease causing 24.9 percent of the deaths in the county during 2011, followed by all cancers at 23.9 percent of all county deaths in 2011, with chronic lower respiratory diseases causing 6.88 percent of all county deaths in 2011.

“Heart-disease related death rates for Beaufort County are slowly decreasing, so we are making some progress,” Russell told the commissioners.

“It’s projected that Beaufort County will have 354 confirmed cases of cancer this year,” she said.

In a related matter, the commissioners gave the OK for the health department to accept a $12,000 grant to conduct the next community health assessment.

For additional coverage of the commissioners’ meeting, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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