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March 2019

Employee Appreciation


The first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day! This day was created in 1995 by Bob Nelson, a founding Recognition Professional International Board Member, along with his publishing company, Workman Publishing. As a participant in the Public Health Leadership Institute Program this year, we often have discussions about the field of public health and our distinctive strengths and attributes to health. Our approach to health is slightly different from the traditional approach of the medical community. We tend to focus on our patients holistically rather than diagnose and treat a specific condition. We are often working to help them address the non-medical issues that influence their physical and mental health. This is not an easy task, yet you all do it with such grace. As an employee of Orange County Health Department (OCHD) you are the agency’s greatest asset.  Thank You for your hard work and dedication to service for our Community.

As we celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day, please know that I am honored to serve you and our Community as the Local Health Director. I look forward to continuing our great work as we strive to enhance the quality of life, promote health and preserve the environment for all people in Orange County. Thank You again for all that you do! It is appreciated beyond measure!

In Good Health,

Quintana Stewart
Health Director 

happy birthday
birthday candles

Lisa Yourko: 3/4

Rhea Colmar: 3/5
Ashley Rawlinson: 3/8
Jennifer Sharpe: 3/19
Susan Wagoner: 3/20
David Ward: 3/26
Please remember to nominate exceptional employees for KUDOS! Just fill out and submit the KUDOS Nomination form HERE.

A KUDO is praise or a compliment given for something well done. Kudos can be given to thank or congratulate a person, team, or group for their efforts. This appreciation and/or acknowledgment can be presented for service, performance, effort, courtesy, efficient or effective work.

Eligibility: Kudos can be given to any Health Department employee (full time, part time, temporary or student intern). There is no length of employment required.

The nominated Health Department employee must exhibit one or more
of the Core Values:

Customer Centered
High Quality
Terrific Work
Congratulations to Lisa Yourko! Kudos to Lisa Yourko for compassionately, efficiently and professionally assisting a client who was not on the provider's schedule but needed assistance. Lisa's calm demeanor, caring tone and focused professional questions helped to identify key issues to quickly get the assistance needed. A big hug from the patient upon leaving showed the trust and rapport that Lisa was able to establish in this short but intense visit. Wonderful care! 
Julie Johnson

Congratulations to 
Julie Johnson 
for being
the 4th Quarter’s (October - December 2018) Kudos award winner! Prize awarded:
$50 giftcard!

Awesome Sauce
Congratulations to Medical Billing Team! The Medical Billing team has worked so hard since the end of June to build, learn, and conquer the Epic billing system. They brought in $15,000 in Medicaid reimbursement this week (highest amount since we've been on the Epic system) and the number of charges in the work queues is at its lowest! Congratulations and all of the effort is "paying off"
Renee Kemske
Congratulations to Renee Kemske! She was professional, warm and kind.
Donna King
Congratulations to Donna King! BIG thank you to Donna for helping us keep our meeting well supplied with coffee by loaning us the perfect coffee maker!
Latitia Chavious
Congratulations to Latitia Chavious! Greatest Phlebotomist in the world!!!
Christy Bridges
Congratulations to Christy Bridges!  Provider Christy is hard working. She never turns down any help requested from her. She is very thorough, caring, and compassionate in provider patient care here at the clinic. 
Lesly Penick
Congratulations to Lesly Penick! Lesly is our interpreter here at the clinic. She performs above and beyond her role as an interpreter. She is always courteous, very helpful to the nurses, assisting in little things that helps with the efficiency overall. Her warm smile, positive demeanor, and professionalism helps to better represent Orange County as a whole. She should be here full-time!!
Ruth Cisneros
Congratulations to Gailey Tatum and Ruth Cisneros! Kudos to Gailey and Ruth for efficient, caring and high quality customer service! Ruth and Gailey noticed that a client in the waiting room was very upset, offered to get her water and quickly consulted with the Clinic Manager to have her seen quickly. Despite their many duties, they were aware of their surroundings, their clients' needs and worked as a team to quickly assist the patient. Proud to work with you!

Congratulations to Latitia Chavious and Lisa Yourko! I reached out to Latitia and Lisa for guidance regarding lab tool approval for a project we will be working on over the next year. Seeking guidance and advice regarding some choices for these items. More than happy to provide guidance and feedback. In addition, we were discussing what the items were for regarding sampling and lab needs coming up. Latitia stopped me in our conversation and exclaimed emphatically, "Wait I think we have an incubator here not being used, would you like to see if we can look into securing that for you?" Which my reply was, really? After speaking with Latitia and Lisa - two days later it was come on over and pick it up. It is so nice to have fellow employees within the county in another department in the agency go out of their way to secure lab equipment to support another employees project. To offer such generosity speaks volumes about both of these people

welcome new staff
Krista Burnette

Krista Burnette

Krista Burnette, returning staff member, is our new Laboratory Technician. Lisa Yourko will be her supervisor. Please help us welcome Krista to the team!

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Krishnaveni Balakrishnan

Krishnaveni Balakrishnan

Krishnaveni Balakrishnan is our new Healthy Homes Coordinator. Ashley Rawlinson will be her supervisor. Please help us welcome Krishnaveni to the team!

Meet the Staff
Donna King

Donna King

Division Director, Health Promotion and Education Services

Started Working with OCHD: Dec. 2000

Favorite Part about Working at OCHD: Over the past eighteen years I have seen various ideas and health initiatives come and go. I am most excited about OCHD’s recent efforts in guiding the work back to what matters the most; the voice of the people, disrupting systems at the root causes of poor health, and working as allies to ensure all thrive.  

Did You Know?:  I reside in Timberlake, enjoy ECU football, and love AMC’s Walking Dead.  

The 2018 OCHD Annual Report 

The 2018 Annual Report is ready! Click here to read all about the many accomplishments and successes of 2018. 

OCHD Annual Report 2018
racial equity commission logo

From the Desk of the Racial Equity Commission (REC)

How to Avoid Raising Racist Children
While no one is born racist, all humans are born with the ability to identify differences among people. It’s how these differences are interpreted that determines a person’s view on race and culture in the future. Babies as young as 6 months can begin to distinguish differences in physical features, and studies show that children as young as three years old can exhibit racist tendencies. It is important to address the issue of race as early as possible in children, even with babies and toddlers. However, it is never too late to take actions to help a child appreciate all types of people.  Here are some concrete actions that adults can take to help the children in their lives form positive views of different races:

  1. TALK ABOUT RACE OPENLY - If the topic comes up, do not avoid it or scold your child even if they make a comment that is racist. Shying away from a discussion teaches children that it is a taboo subject and discourages meaningful conversations. The more you can discuss race with your child, the more they will be willing to evaluate the issue and keep an open mind.
  2. POINT OUT THE POSITIVE DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE: If your child notes a person’s different skin color or feature, comment on the beauty of that difference. You can also recognize how special non-physical characteristics about that person are such as their intelligence, artistic skills, or ability to speak another language. This will help your child associate different races with positive characteristics.
  3. HELP YOUR CHILD FIND COMMON GROUND: If your child does note differences between himself and a friend at school or someone else in their environment, acknowledge those differences but also try to find common ground. A friend at school might have a different skin color, but they both might like soccer. Pointing out these similarities encourages your child think about ways they are more alike than different.
  4. DISCUSS THE HISTORY OF RACE AND ITS ONGOING PRESENCE IN OUR SOCIETY – Racism is often seen as a topic of the past, something that disappeared after slavery was abolished and the Civil Rights Movement occurred. It’s important to discuss the history of race in our country and also acknowledge that racism remains prevalent in our culture today. Do not shy away from topics your child learns at school or current events they see on the news. You may have to educate yourself to help guide your children.
  5. WATCH YOUR ACTIONS – Children are always observing the world around them, particularly that of adults in their lives. Not only do they observe how we treat others, but will note subtle tones and gestures when we interact with people of different races. It is important to be aware of our actions and making a conscious effort to interact with others with respect and dignity.
  6. EXPOSE YOUR CHILDREN TO A VARIETY OF RACES IN THEIR DAILY LIVES – Studies show that children whose parents have a diverse group of friends are less likely to show racist tendencies as they grow older. Make it a point to interact with families of different backgrounds, and expose children to activities and events featuring a wide range of cultures and people. Remember to do so authentically and genuinely. 
  7. CHOOSE BOOKS AND TV SHOWS THAT FEATURE DIVERSE CHARACTERS – Choosing books for children highlighting other races and cultures expose children to different people, and allows a conduit for an open discussion about race. Books do not have to feature a character of a different race as ‘exceptional’ or the ‘hero’ – everyday characters allow kids to see different races as part of their everyday norm  and open up real-life discussions. Children also pick up on TV shows and books that their parents watch and read – so choosing diverse books and shows as an adult is also key.
Sasha Savy loves to code

Reference articles, podcasts and further material:

Upcoming Trainings
REC encourages all staff to attend REI trainings (REI Phase l & ll, Latinx Challenge Workshops, Groundwaters, etc.) more than once in order to begin to form a common language and analysis lens among us all. Once trained, we encourage staff participation in the joint and affinity caucusing groups.  For more training opportunities please visit and

Racial Equity Institute Phase l
Raleigh – Friday & Saturday, March 15th & 16th – To register click here
Durham – Friday & Saturday, March 22nd & 23rd – To register click here.
Greensboro – Wednesday & Thursday, March 27th & 28th
To register click here.
Chapel Hill – Friday & Saturday, March 29th & 30th – To register click here.
Durham – Monday & Tuesday, April 22nd & 23rd – To register click here.
Racial Equity Institute Phase ll
Burlington – Friday and Saturday, April 5th & 6th – To register click here.
474 CLAS Standards Advancing Health Equity Agreement Addendum: Required Trainings Below
Privilege, Power, and Oppression: Understanding Socialization – March 15th – Whitted BOCC Room (230)
 Achieving Equitable Outcomes through Results Based Accountability – April 12th – SHSC Board Room
Webinars, Conferences, Workshops
March 23rd – Let’s Talk about Racism Conference @ 9 am @ NCCU – For more information click here.
April 10th – Trauma-Informed Care: An Introduction for Health Department Staff –– Please see Rebecca Crawford for details
March 25th – Charity and Justice Community Workshop – 6 pm in Carrboro – For more information click here.
Community Events
March 9th - Panel Series: Tobacco and the African American Experience – For more information click here.
March 10th – Strange Fruit Documentary – 3:45 pm @ Varsity Theater – For more information click here.
March 15th – Wilmington on Fire Screening – 7 pm in Saxapahaw – For more information click here.
March 19th – Conversations on Equity – 6:30 pm @ Chapel Hill Public Library – For more information click here.
March 30th – Women of Color Empowerment Bruch @ 9am in Raleigh – For more information click here.
Learning Community
Book Club: See April Richard or Juliet Sheridan for more information
March 13th – The Color Purple - @ 5:30 pm
April 10th – Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools - @ 5:30 pm

Tips and Tricks

By Kim Quatrone

There are multiple ways to view emails in Outlook by use of the Reading Pane. You can customize how the Reading Pane works and appears, or you can turn it off. To turn on, turn off, or move the Reading Pane follow these steps:

1) To turn off the Reading Pane go to the View Menu, point to Reading Pane, and then click Off. Selecting Off closes the Reading Pane only for the folder you’re in (see Figure A). 2) To turn on or move the Reading Pane go to the View menu, point to Reading Pane, and then click Right or Bottom. One thing to note is that when you’re in Reading Pane mode messages are marked as read after clicking or resting on the email. You can change these settings too. To do this, follow these steps:

1) Click FileOptionsAdvanced (see Figure B). 2) Under Outlook panes, click Reading Pane (see Figure C). 3) To turn this feature on, select the check box at Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane, and then enter a number in the Wait n seconds before marking item as read box (see Figure D). To turn off this feature, clear the check box at Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane.

Reviewing Email in Outlook

Campus and Community Coalition

High Risk Alcohol Consumption

Please join the Coalition for a town hall breakfast to learn more about our community's responsibility to reduce the negative impacts of high risk drinking. March 20, 8:30-10am at the Chapel Hill Public Library
•  We all have a part to play--join the Campus & Community Coalition for a town hall breakfast to discuss how you can help reduce the negative impacts of high risk drinking. March 20, 8:30-10am at the Chapel Hill Public Library
•   High risk drinking remains a high priority in Chapel Hill. Join the Campus & Community Coalition for a town hall meeting on March 20 at the Chapel Hill Public Library, 8:30-10am.


Tornado Drill Wednesday 3/6 at 9:30

It is hard to believe that we are about to enter severe weather season already. In order to prepare, we are participating in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill next week and encourage you to do so as well. Our goal this year is 100% participation! 

Participating departments who document their drill with pictures can send those to to be entered to win an office preparedness kit and a preparedness pizza party (you pick the date and time, we will provide the pizza and preparedness items). The rules are simple, just participate anytime during the day on March 6th, document with pictures, and submit them to us! We will announce the winner on March 8th! 

March 6th, 2019 at 9:30AM
Note: In addition to the below info from the NWS, we WILL activate OC ALERTS for this drill. OC ALERTS will only notify personal contacts that have self-registered. We will NOT send notification to employees, unless they also have created a public OC Alerts account. If you want to receive such notices and live or work in Orange County, you can register for automated weather warnings at OC Alerts PUBLIC System.

Please report to the designated Shelter-in-Place location for your area and sign the roster that the zone wardens will have. After you sign the roster, you can go back to what you were doing.

A note to clinical staff – patients should shelter in place with you unless you are in the middle of a procedure, such as a pap smear, dental extraction, or dental filling. Otherwise, please shelter in place for this drill. 

Below are your locations:
Whitted B building – Dental Clinic lab/sterilization room
Whitted A building – Medical Clinic away from windows
Southern Human Services – Medical Clinic away from windows
West Campus – Environmental Health  - stairwell/ground floor where conference rooms are located

Survey Prize

Orange County Commute Survey

Sitting in traffic on your way to work is an expensive, stressful, and environmentally unfriendly way to start your day. Allyson Coltrane, the Orange County Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Coordinator, is working to figure out ways to improve the day-to-day commute for Orange County staff.  

The Triangle J Council of Governments and GoTriangle are conducting a brief transportation survey in workplaces throughout the Triangle to learn how employees are getting to work and I encourage you to take about 10-12 minutes to complete it.

Orange County employees can complete the survey from now until March 24th.

Orange County Commuter Survey link:

Lead in Spices, Herbal Remedies, Ceremonial Powders, and Cosmetics
Examples where lead can be found

Some spices, herbal remedies, ceremonial powders, and cosmetics may contain lead, especially those imported from India, Asia, Mexico, and the Middle East.

Spices include: Anise Seeds, Asafoetida, Chili powder/ whole chilies, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Dagar Phool (stone flower), Garam Masala, Ginger, Hungarian Paprika, Kabsa Mix, Seven Spices Mix, and Turmeric

Herbal teas and remedies include: Ash Powder, Azarcon, Balguti Kesaria, Bali Gali, Ghasard, Greta, Kandu, Mojhat ceremonial drink, and Pay-loo-ah

Ceremonial Powders include: Kum kum, Incense, Pooja powder, Rangoli, and Vibuti (ash powder)

Cosmetics include: Kohl, Kajal, Kum Kum, Sindoor, and Surma

Prevent Lead Poisoning

  • Buy spices locally rather than online or overseas. Domestic products have stricter safety standards and are more likely to have been screened for heavy metals.
  • Do not use products that family or friends send to you from another country.
  • Keep ceremonial powders and other cosmetics out of children’s reach.
  • Check labels of products for a state or federal agency safety label.
  • Take your children to the doctor’s office or local health department to have them tested for lead.
Resources on Lead Poisoning Prevention can be found here.

Download a PDF flier of Lead in Spices, Herbal Remedies, Ceremonial Powders, and Cosmetics.
March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month®!

Please join the Nutrition Services Section as we celebrate National Nutrition Month®.

National Nutrition Month®, is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
During National Nutrition Month®, help the Academy achieve its vision of a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.

Take Advantage of Your Wellness Benefit!  Schedule a free nutrition counseling appointment with one of the Health Department’s Registered Dietitians to help you develop a personalized plan to meet your health and wellness goals. Contact Renée Kemske for more information.

All of Us Together Preventative Care


Join the Conversation on Prevention!

March 22, 2019 | 10:30am - 12:00pm

Orange County Environment & Agriculture Center

306 Revere Road Hillsborough, NC 27278

Engage in a morning of dynamic conversation about the role of nutrition education in preventive care and how we can increase our impact collectively. We promise it will be a conversation worth having! 

Help us:

  • Develop collaborative strategies to promote nutrition education in preventive care. 
  • Craft a collective vision for North Carolina that includes EFNEP, Family and Consumer Sciences, other Cooperative Extension programs, county agencies/organizations, and health education opportunities. 
Confirm your participation with Ivelisse Colón, FCS Agent at 919-245-2055 or through the link provided below.

Hosted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension - Orange County Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Program and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) 

FDA Approved

Moira Beck Earns 4 Authorizations in One Month

Moira Beck may be the newest EHS in the Section, but she has proven that she can take a challenge and accomplish it.  In NC, staff who begin work in Environmental Health must attended intensive centralized training for several weeks with NCDHHS.  Real training for the job cannot begin until after  centralized training.  Then there are extensive lists of OTJ training goals, co-inspections, and mock tasks.  There are eight authorizations, or program tracks, available.  When the practice field work is completed, a NCDHHS Regional Specialists administers a professional exam in the subject matter and works for a period of 1-3 days with the staff person.  Successful completion results in the Delegated Authority to enforce the Rules in that program.  It normally takes months for each one. 
Well, Moira has been busy.  She began work on the day after Labor Day.  In the first few months, she went to centralized training, worked shelter duty, assisted with numerous EH projects, survived the rains, and managed the practice work needed for the Authorizations.  Moira now has the delegated authority to enforce the Rules for Public Swimming Pools, Tattoo Artists, Private Water Supplies, and Migrant Housing.  We are so proud of her get-up-and-go-get-them.  Positive thoughts as she finishes the Onsite Wastewater by the end of February.

Environmental Health Staff Implement New Software

A Quality Improvement project in 2010 indicated that Orange County residents seeking septic and well permitting services would benefit from a central permitting system that would reduce redundancies with other County departments, increase efficiencies, and increase communication with the applicants and contractors.  In 2011, several Orange County departments met to talk about what centralized permitting would need to be for each to work together as a whole.  Many years of development resulted finally on February 13th.  The new software, known as Energov, provides database capabilities that combine the efforts of Environmental Health with Orange County Planning, Building Inspections, GIS, Fire Marshal, Solid Waste, Storm Water, and others.  Phil Vilaro inherited the software design from Alan Clapp and John Kase, the good and the bad.  He devoted time and expertise over the last two years to fine tune the process and project.  Kathryn Hobby was instrumental in deliverables, consultation, testing, and training, which includes a professional user’s manual that will train staff in the future.  Tracey Langley and John Davis provided institutional knowledge so that data from existing system monitoring are processed properly.  Many thanks go to Mel Caesar, Jamie Stewart, David Ward, Moira Beck, Joan Melton, Jackie Stewart, and Barbara Hawksworth, who took training seriously and made the transition as smooth as possible for the customer.  

Environmental Health’s Retail Food Staff’s Assessment Approved by FDA Voluntary Retail Food Standards

The NC Food Code is based on the model FDA Food Code from 2009.  The FDA has published two more Codes and two more supplements since North Carolina’s adoption.  The FDA Voluntary Retail Food Standards is an elective program for inspection jurisdictions who know food safety improves with extra efforts.  The voluntary program requires specialized training of food inspection staff and tightened criteria for inspection observations and documentation.  An assessment of the nine standards is a gap analysis of the County’s inspection methods of retail food service.  The Orange County assessment was submitted in the fall and approved in late January.  After an assessment, the FDA provides incentives, mentoring, and written guidance to set goals for improvement.  As a result of the Orange County assessment, the local program already met or exceeded the requirements for three standards: Inspection System Based on HACCP Principals; Industry and Community Relations; and Program Support and Resources.  Standards for trained inspection staff and uniform inspections were selected for improvement by December 31, 2019.  This year a $3000 grant has been awarded for the enhanced training and for three staff persons to attend the FDA Regional Conference in 2019.  
Social Media Photos

What is Public Health?

To educated the general public, we'd like to share photos of health department staff at their job or photos of what staff considers to be public Health. Send them on to Kristin at: Thanks!!

2019 North Carolina Reentry Summit

Reentry Summit

Opioid Misuse & Overdose Prevention Summit

Save the Date! June 11-12, 2019 in Raleigh, NC.

Opioid Misuse & Overdose Prevention Summit

orange county health department logo

Orange County Health Department

  • 300 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough, NC 27278
  • 2501 Homestead Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
  • 131 W. Margaret Ln., Hillsborough, NC 27278

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