Santa Rosa, CA – July 19, 2017 – The Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) has been awarded the 2017 Local Health Department of the Year Award from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). The award recognizes and honors outstanding health department accomplishments. Sonoma County was selected as the Gold Level Recipient, the top honor, among counties with a population of 500,000 or more.
“This is a shining example of how Sonoma County’s innovate health programs are providing leadership both close to home and across the country,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane. “The recognition from NACCHO highlights that to improve our community’s health we need to have a cross-section of partners from every sector at the table. Clearly, Sonoma County’s example demonstrates to health departments far and wide that focusing on community collaboration provides better outcomes.”
The award was announced at the NACCHO Annual Conference on July 12. This year’s theme for the award was Public Health and Health Care Linkages. Health departments were recognized for connecting clinical medicine with prevention and population health efforts, and for demonstrating creativity, innovation, health impact, and collaboration with both partners and the community.
“This award puts the County of Sonoma in special company with a select group of health departments that exemplify a forward-thinking, proactive approach toward protecting and promoting the health of communities nationwide,” said NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP.
“Sonoma County Department of Health Services may be the recipient of this award, but it is largely due to the great work of our partners, who should be credited with the accomplishment,” said Barbie Robinson, MPP, JD, Director of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.
DHS and the County were specifically recognized for work with Health Action’s Hearts of Sonoma and the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) grant to improve cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment in Sonoma County. With membership comprised of primary care providers from major medical groups across the county, Hearts of Sonoma is working to standardize evidence based clinical interventions to screen for and treat cardiovascular disease risk factors. Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality; heart disease and strokes are responsible for one in five deaths in Sonoma County.
“What’s special about Sonoma County is that healthcare providers are working across agencies, collaboratively, to improve care and improve outcomes. In addition, we are connecting the clinical work with community programs,” Dr. Karen Milman, Sonoma County Health Officer stated. “The idea is to implement a comprehensive, whole-community approach to improve cardiovascular health that is reinforced in the doctor’s office, worksite, neighborhood and grocery store.”
CACHI was established by The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and Sierra Health Foundation to advance innovative health models to improve population health and reduce health disparities. CACHI is being supported by Community Partners, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps foster, launch, and grow creative solutions to community challenges.