Atlantic City Makes Health and
Wellness a Top Priority
Lorenzo T. Langford
Mayor, Atlantic City
For me as Mayor of the City of Atlantic City the health and well-being of the entire
The Atlantic City Mobile brings HIV and other tests to neighborhoods.
community is a top priority. With 40,000 residents and 34 million annual visitors, Atlantic City's Health and Human Services Department must be able to respond to health issues efficiently and effectively.
In 2004, we spearheaded the effort to create a state supervised needle exchange program in Atlantic City. This program distributes sanitary needles to drug users as a way to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. This was done in response to the fact that Atlantic City has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the entire State of New Jersey. One out of every thirty-two black males in Atlantic City is living with HIV/AIDS. I find this completely unacceptable. It is a health crisis that needs immediate attention.
A big part of our mission is to help prevent diseases
and disabilities through public health interventions
which contribute to improving the quality of life for others.
As such, I, along with Health and Human Services Director Ron Cash, worked to make the needle exchange program a reality. We realized that the needle exchange program was not popular. Many felt that this was a moral issue. However, we realized that this
The city provides a dental health display at a Minority Health Month event.
was not a judgment call, but rather a solution to help curtail a terrible problem which, if left untreated, will continue to devastate our city. As such, the idea for a needle exchange program was a common sense approach and a pro-active way for us to address this serious health problem. I wish to thank Senator Nia Gill, Assemblyman Joseph Roberts and former Governor James McGreevey for their vision in taking a leadership role. Because of their outstanding efforts the needle exchange program moved forward and was signed into law. Clearly, we all agree that helping to save lives is of the utmost importance.
Knowing that prevention plays a key role in the overall health of the community, the mission of our Health Department is to protect and enhance the well being of residents and visitors by creating viable partnerships with organizations and individuals; address issues that directly affect the health of the population and respond to and plan for critical health and social services crises.
It is our goal to help people live healthier and more productive lives. A big part of our mission is to help prevent diseases and disabilities through public health interventions which contribute to improving the quality of life for others. We also hold regular health screenings, including monthly health fairs for City employees. Also, we utilize our Healthmobile as a means to directly reach out to the community and promote health and wellness.
We are dedicated to providing the very best quality of health and human services available. Our employees are trained to recognize and respond to public health issues and threats. We have a dedicated staff willing to go that extra mile to make a difference.
Mayor Langford joins a group to announce a campaign to distribute free carbon monoxide detectors
The Atlantic City Health and Human Services Department employs nearly 250 employees and has an annual budget of approximately $11 million. The department functions under five programmatic areas:
Social Services These are carried out in our Welfare Department, Senior Citizen Section, which includes transportation, outreach, Meals on Wheels, Patsy Wallace Nutrition Center, and the Human Relations Office. We recently purchased two new buses and under our "Golden Age Transportation" program we provide free transportation for seniors to attend medical appointments, go supermarket shopping and do their banking. We also provide door-to-door shopping services for handicapped seniors.
Health Division This division consists of the offices that deal with Health and Human Services Administration (Public Health Nursing, Health Planning and Health Education), Animal Control, Environmental Health and Substance Abuse Detoxification.
One out of every thirty-two black males
in Atlantic City is living with HIV/AIDS.
I find this completely unacceptable.
Clinical Services These are both population based and individual health services that we provide, such as maternal and child health care, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease control, HIV/AIDS services (including counseling, testing, comprehensive case management, risk reduction), Immunizations for adults, seniors and city employees, and Women, Infant and Children's Services (WIC).
Recreation and Cultural Affairs The services provided in this division include year round Recreation and Youth Services, (After School, Summer Youth and Intern programs at various locations throughout the city, special events, cultural affairs, family activities and community outreach and advocacy.
Library Services We offer a full service library featuring community resources and computer training resources, as well as special services for children and adults.
Additionally, the Health and Human Services Department has been charged with the task of responding to the concerns associated with bio-terrorism.
As we continue to refine existing programs and develop new ones, we are always mindful of the impact that they have on the community as a whole. In my administration, I am proud of the fact that by working together as a team, we have held the line on public spending while improving services. Our Health and Human Services Department is a prime example of this. I applaud the efforts of Director Ron Cash and his entire staff. They serve our taxpayers well.
It is especially gratifying for me, as Mayor, to see the Health and Human Services Department in action. Indeed, it is heart warming and inspiring to know that we make a difference --each and everyday -- in the lives of others.
Article in May 2005, New Jersey Municipalities