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Anson County gains public health educator

The Anson Record - 11/7/2017

Nov. 07--Dinikia Savage was recently named Anson County Health Department's first public health educator since 2009.

Savage started on Oct. 9, and has a masters in health administration from the University of Phoenix and a BS in public health education from North Carolina Central University.

"I am truly grateful to be the new health educator of the Anson County Health Department," Savage said. "To work with such a great group of individuals makes my days brighter."

She said that gaining a position that matches her educational background, and a career that she is passionate about, is a blessing.

"I plan to develop prevention programs to increase awareness and decrease rates," Savage said. "I also plan on collaborating with the health professionals and organizations in and around Anson County, to help improve the many issues we are facing."

Several of these conditions are listed in the Anson County Health Assessment, including sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.

"I chose to accept this position because I believe Anson County is a community that needs attention on several injuries and health conditions," Savage said. "I am ready and prepared to accept the many challenges and barriers that I may face to improve them."

Fred Thompson, director of the Anson County Health Department, said that Anson at one time had three public health educators -- but as the positions became vacant, the county chose not to replace them due to budget restraints.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to provide the people of Anson County a comprehensive program of public health education without a public health educator," Thompson said. "Also, Anson ranked 89 out of the 100 counties for overall health outcomes in the 2017 County Health Rankings."

Thompson said that he made these points to the county commissioners over the last couple of years, and the position was approved in the 2017-2018 budget.

"We started recruitment in July and received several applicants for the position," Thompson said. "A search committee was formed and did the initial round of interviewing, and the final two applicants were invited for a second interview that included the health director."

Thompson said that Savage was chosen for several reasons, including her education and her experience working for Carolinas HealthCare System.

"Finally, and perhaps most importantly, during the interview process she exhibited a high degree of interpersonal skills combined with a genuine concern for the wellbeing of others," he added.

Thompson said that over the next few months -- and years -- Savage will be rebuilding a comprehensive program of public health education in Anson County. He also said that since the county has not had a public health educator in eight years, it will take some time to rebuild the program.

"Many of the health issues Ansonians are struggling with, like diabetes and obesity, need an ongoing program of health education and promotion to assist people in addressing those problems."

Thompson said that the Department sincerely appreciates the support of the Anson County Board of Commissioners in re-establishing the position. He also that that they believe that Savage is a great fit for the position, and has so much to offer the people of Anson County.

"We hope that, over time, Savage can establish relationships with the hospital, Anson County Schools, the Partnership for Children, and our other community partners in fostering a structured, systematic program of public health education in the county," he said.

Reach Natalie Davis at 704-994-5471.



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