Public health and healthier lives are of major concern to everyone, and SUNY Fredonia researchers and staff are active contributors to issues impacting the health of those in the region and on the campus. Public health is community health. Public health and healthier lives are impacted by the air we breathe, the water we drink, actions we take in our daily lives, and interactions within our communities.
Local Health Information
The mission of public health is to fulfill society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. One of the primary core functions of public health is the assessment and monitoring of the health of communities and populations at risk. This assessment and monitoring identifies health problems and priorities allowing for the formulation of public policies designed to solve identified local health problems and establish priorities. Associate Professor Raymond McLain, Sociology/Anthropology, for the past two years, under a grant funded through the Chautauqua County Health Network, has been collecting and analyzing local health data in order to produce the Chautauqua Community Health Assessment report. This has involved the development of a community health data tracking system and STEPs to a Healthier Chautauqua County evaluation design and reporting. Dr. McLain's work has created a data tracking system that captures information on an on-going basis, established a clearinghouse for community health data via the Internet, assisted in identifying community health priorities, and interpreted data to produce the Chautauqua County 2005-2010 Community Health Assessment for submission to the New York State Department of Health. He has also provided evaluation services for the STEP public health initiative grant, working with key representatives from the Chautauqua County Health Department, STEP Consortium, and United Way. This project is on-going.
Our Drinking Water
The Chautauqua County Water Net project, under the direction of Geosciences Professor Michael P. Wilson, is a continuation of Dr. Wilson's long-standing interest in water resources. The Chautauqua Water Net is a water-quantity monitoring network consisting of flow or level measurements and detectors for wells, springs, lakes, streams, reservoirs, rain and snow. The work is sponsored by the Chautauqua County Health Department, and they and several other agencies cooperate in field data acquisition, records access and analysis of results. Long-term monitoring of our water resources provides important information on quality, quantity, management of water resources and impacts policy-making. Dr. Wilson and his undergraduate research assistants monitor ground water levels at fourteen sites and continuous stream flow at two sites in Chautauqua County. In addition, they collect available data from all NOAA weather stations and USGS gauging stations in the County. Dr. Wilson maintains records in a computer database and provides interpretations of the data in written reports to the County at the end of each year.
For more than fifteen years, SUNY Fredonia has had a direct link with
the safety of swimming beaches in Chautauqua County through the Chautauqua County Internship Program. Under the supervision of Professor Wayne Yunghans
of the Department of Biology, this long-standing internship program
with the Chautauqua County Department of Health, Division of
Environmental Health, has provided opportunities for students to apply
the knowledge gained in the classroom and laboratories.
Biology students are hired to take samples of county water systems (e.g., beaches, camp sites or other water locations) to test for bacterial pollution. The students process the samples at the Health Department labs in Mayville, and the results are posted. This may mean that any of the beaches in the County may be closed until the bacterial counts are satisfactory. Students gain experience in lab procedures, with state pollution guidelines, and learn about the operations of county government. And, we are assured of waters safe for swimming in the summer's heat!
Often, health and safety hinge on appropriate prevention and behaviors. Under the direction of Co-PIs Sally Murphy, Ph.D., Director of the Counseling Center and University Police Chief Ann Burns, CEASE (Campus Education Awareness Support and Effect), a project grant awarded by the US Depart of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, is a collaborative campus and community project. The SUNY Fredonia Counseling Center and University Police partnered with The Salvation Army, Brooks Hospital and Village of Fredonia Police Department in a joint effort to respond to violent crimes against women on campus, including the crimes of dating violence and sexual assault. The grant has supported effective programming for CEASE, coordinated through and housed in the Counseling Center in LoGrasso Hall. Julie Bezek is the Project Director of CEASE. Now it its second year, CEASE coordinates campus policies and procedures regarding violence; collaborates with community agencies that provide services to victims of violence; provides campus education regarding violence; and serves as a referral for questions and issues. CEASE provide prevention education for all campus constituents, and trains campus administrators, staff and community partners to effectively prevent, identify, and respond to violent crimes against women.