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About Public Health

Public health is committed to protecting the health and well-being of everyone who lives in, works in, or visits Benton County. We focus on preventing health problems before they occur. Our programs strive to create community conditions that help reduce health disparities, so all people have an equal chance for a long and healthy life.

Public health is “at your service every day” throughout the county wherever you live, learn, work and play. Services are open to all, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. All services are accessible to those with mobility challenges, and language translation is also available.

Public Health Programs

Communicable Diseases

The Communicable Disease Program works to control the rate of infectious illness by providing investigation, immunizations, and education. Communicable Disease Investigators respond to disease reports by investigating possible sources of infection*, providing information about confirming diagnosis and treatment, and preventing further spread of disease in the county.

By law, health care providers and laboratories must report specific infections to the local health department. Investigators contact the ill person to offer information, learn the source of the infection, and work out who else may be exposed (contacts). Depending on the disease, we may also inform contacts of the signs of infection, what steps to take if those signs occur, or if they need to seek treatment. This is done in a confidential manner to prevent the identification of persons involved.

*Investigators look into reports of infectious diseases occurring in residents of Benton County. If the resident lives in another county, the investigation will be done by that county’s public health department.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

While natural events occur all the time, they are classified as disasters only when they impact human populations. Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program professionals work with Emergency Management teams to plan for, mitigate, and recover from these events. Emergency Management focuses on the infrastructures that hold societies together, like food, water, electricity, transportation, etc. While these teams work to renew the infrastructure and services to people, Public Health Emergency Preparedness invests in the renewal of the people waiting for the services to return.

For outcomes to be as successful as they can be, it starts with everyone doing all that they can to prepare themselves first before the incident occurs. Then those that fare well can reach out and help others along the way. Our goal is to help people build plans and resources coordination to support the best possible outcomes for everyone, especially those who are limited in capacity, access, function, or stamina to prepare.

Environmental Health

Our licensed Environmental Health Specialists protect the people of Benton County through sanitation, safe food and water, proper disposal of wastes, disease prevention, and assuring that the natural and man-made environments are as healthy as possible.

Services offered by Environmental Health for Benton County include:

Climate and Health

Projected impacts from climate change include:

  • increasing heat waves
  • heavy rains and flooding
  • wildfire
    • related displacement and migration
  • loss of wetland eco-systems
  • expansion of non-native invasive species
  • reduced air quality

Public Health is planning and engaging community to reduce the health risks associated with climate change. As a result, we make our communities more resilient and equitable.

Family Planning

The Family Planning Program serves individuals of reproductive age with a wide scope of reproductive and sexual health services, including but not limited to:

  • Certain wellness exams and screening tests (Pelvic exam, Pap test)
  • Birth control information and counseling
  • Birth control supplies
  • Emergency contraception
  • Pregnancy testing and counseling
  • Sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment
  • HIV/AIDS testing and counseling
  • Permanent sterilization information (Vasectomy, Tubal ligation)

All services are voluntary and confidential.

We do not provide pregnancy/maternity care at this time. For local maternity care providers, please ask any one of our team members.

Maternal & Child Health

The Benton County Maternal and Child Health Program provides services to pregnant women, young children, and their families through four home visiting programs. A public health nurse with special training will visit you in your home. The nurse can help you find answers to questions about your pregnancy, your child’s health and care, and your family’s well being. There is no charge to you for these services, but the Oregon Health Plan may be billed for some services.

Maternal & Child Health encompasses the following programs:

Vaccines for Children

The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children through the age of 18 who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. Some vaccines are also available at no cost or a reduced cost to eligible adults and seniors.

To be eligible for Vaccines for Children, a child must fit one of these categories:

  • Enrolled in Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan
  • Uninsured
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Underinsured

WIC is a supplemental nutrition program for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under 5 years of age. As a result, WIC provides healthy foods at the right time to promote good growth and development.

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