Adolescent Health in Mills County
Mills County Public Health has been active in protecting the health of Mills County residents since 1970. We are governed by the Mills County Board of Health who is responsible for all policy, programs, staffing and financial decisions of the agency. With the assistance of funding from the Board of Supervisors, service fees and grant funding, we provide a wide variety of services to the residents of our community.
Two major goals for both State and Local Public Health Departments are to Promote Healthy Behaviors and Prevent Epidemics and the Spread of Diseases. We provide programs and activities designed to address these goals, serving all residents, including adolescents. “Adolescence is a time where patterns are established and lifestyle choices have current and future implications,” said Sheri Bowen, Agency Administrator. “It is easier and more effective to develop healthy behaviors during childhood than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood.”
Mills County Public Health provides education and activities to assist youth to develop healthy behaviors and decrease their risk of disease. Program areas include: Immunizations, Child Abuse, Tobacco and Substance Abuse, Sexual Health, Injuries, Teen Parenting, Mental Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity. We have received some questions about our Sexual Health program for adolescents and would like to provide you with some additional information on our current activities.
For the past several years, we have assisted our Schools to meet their State requirements in Human Growth and Development. “All school-based programs are taught by certified, Mills County Public Health staff, said Bowen. These programs promote sexual abstinence with our young people while still giving them medically accurate, evidence-based information required for good decision making.” We have provided Draw the Line, Respect the Line Curriculum to serve 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. This abstinence based program is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH). We have recently tested an additional program for 9th Grade students called Making a Difference. This curriculum is also abstinence based and recommended by both CDC and OAH. Schools have the choice to participate and to determine if there are any needed changes to these programs and parent permission is required. Fremont Mills School is participating in programming at this time. In addition to our school-based programs, we have added an in-office program for girls ages 13-18. Parents sign their child up and provide permission for their daughter to participate in this one-on-one education opportunity.
We are excited to have received funding through a 5-year grant from the Federal Office of Adolescent Health, designed specifically to improve healthy decision making skills for our youth. These funds were awarded to 81 organizations nation-wide, 2 of which are Planned Parenthood entities. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland provides a pass-thru of these funds from the Office of Adolescent Health, to assist us in meeting our Public Health mission.