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January 16, 2013 Board Notes

Jan 18, 2013
Board of health returns chair, vice chair for third year; Food and agriculture charter gets endorsement from health unit; Changes in Healthy Babies Healthy Children program

Board of health returns chair, vice chair for third year

Barry Ward and Scott Warnock were acclaimed to the positions of chair and vice chair respectively of the board of health of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. It’s the third year for both individuals. Barry Ward is an elected member of the City of Barrie Council, where he serves as chair of the development services committee. Scott Warnock is the mayor of Tay Township.

Food and agriculture charter gets endorsement from health unit

The Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health has endorsed the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter, completed in December. The health unit was an active member of the steering committee that produced the charter, Jane Shrestha, RD, public health nutritionist told the board this week.

Food and agriculture charters are used to declare a community’s common vision and principles related to food and the local food system. Shrestha explained that public consultations took place over a year and a half to assemble a set of common principles for the county’s charter. The charter can be used as a guide to create policies, programs, business practices and projects reflecting a community’s shared values.

Board members pointed out that several major projects are in the works that could get a boost from the charter’s existence. A proposal to establish an Ontario Food Terminal in South Simcoe is in the feasibility study stages right now. And in the City of Barrie, a realignment of the city’s public transit system could open up the current transit terminal to a year-round farmer’s market. The Food and Agriculture Charter, along with the health unit’s support, could lend further credence to the value of both projects.

Changes in Healthy Babies Healthy Children program

A set of enhancements that refine the focus of the provincially funded Healthy Babies Healthy Children program will be fully in place by early April, the Simcoe Muskoka District board of health learned this week. Following guidelines released by the province last fall, the enhancements will increase the focus of the Healthy Babies Healthy Children public health nursing services specifically to families with factors that could impede the healthy development of children.

Some of the enhancements include:

  • a single screening process that can be used prenatally, after a baby’s birth or during early childhood
  • additional hours that public health nurses can devote to linking with hospitals, midwives, or community partners to ensure families that may need service are connected with the HBHC program
  • a more efficient and effective means of providing support services to families through greater training for public health nurses and family home visitors in the use of tools and activities to enhance home visiting services.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place Feb. 20
at 9:15 a.m. at the Barrie office, 15 Sperling Drive.

 


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