Note: This week is National Public Health Week. This week I have a five-part public health series that explores the vast network of programs and services that help improve the health and wellness of all Arizonans. 

Public health includes programs that work to ensure that we are safe whether in everyday life or during an unexpected event. At ADHS, we have two teams—Licensing and Preparedness—that work behind the scenes to keep our communities safe.

Our Licensing Team regulates health and child care facilities, provides education, and conducts inspections, investigations and enforcement, if necessary. The Licensing Team oversees long-term care, residential facilities, medical facilities, vital records, special licensing, and child care centers and homes. The team’s goal is to protect the health and safety of the Arizona citizens receiving care and treatment.

Our Licensing Team surveyors will work with the facility to develop a plan to fix any deficiencies. In situations that put people at immediate risk to health and safety, our surveyors are prepared to stay onsite to ensure the immediate threat is corrected. We prefer compliance over enforcement because our goal is to have the facility “do it right” rather than be penalized through fines and/or loss of their license.

All inspections including deficiencies and follow-ups are available for review at AZ Care Check. We encourage you to see how your child care facility is doing or look at recent inspections of nursing homes before sending a loved one there.

Our Public Health Emergency Preparedness Team is ready to activate our Health Emergency Operations Center during an outbreak, natural disaster, or terrorist event. These teams work in different ways to make sure that the public health system is working for our communities during ‘normal’ times and during potential disasters. This team detects and responds to public health emergency like a disease outbreak, extreme weather event, or terrorism threat.

We maintain emergency response plans and participate in training exercises year-round to ensure that our ability to assist Arizona’s health needs continues uninterrupted. Our Just in Case Arizona Program helps families prepare in the event of an emergency. This starts by planning for situations that occur at school, home, or work.

In the event of an emergency, the most important thing you can do is to be informed. We have information on what to do during emergencies and how to create a survival kit that includes water and food, medicine, pet items, and a list of emergency contacts. You can use the survival kit to make plans for natural disasters, accidents & attacks, and biological & chemical dangers to ensure that when the unexpected happens you are prepared. Check back tomorrow when I feature how we are creating healthy communities.