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Recent News

Visit the Health News and Alerts page

March 21, 2024

Key messages

  • Chantell Harmon Reed took over Monday as Director of Public Health.
  • This week’s Opioid Summit addressed the most common cause of accidental death in Pierce County.
  • Find out more about this year’s County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.
  • Ads about getting tested for syphilis draw positive attention.

Updates

New Director of Public Health starts work!

Chantell Harmon Reed, a dynamic leader with decades of experience in public health, healthcare, and business, began her new role as Director of Public Health on Monday, March 18.

Read our news release to learn more!

Work to save lives at the Opioid Summit

Did you know opioid overdose is the most common cause of accidental death in Pierce County? People from across Pierce County met in Puyallup on Thursday to learn how to help reverse that trend.

  • We partnered with Pierce County, Elevate Health, and City of Tacoma for the annual Tacoma-Pierce County Opioid Task Force’s annual summit.
  • People learned about how to stop the stigma of opioid use, what’s happening with state and local opioid settlement funds, and more.
  • The task force’s executive sponsors spoke to the group: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Deputy Director Cindan Gizzi; Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director of Public Health Chantell Harmon Reed; Tacoma Deputy Mayor John Hines; and Pierce County Councilmember and Board of Health Vice-Chair Jani Hitchen.

Questions? Read our news release or email ShyAnn Keenan at skeenan@tpchd.org.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps help raise awareness about public health

The 2024 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps show Pierce County is faring better than the average county in the nation. Within the state, Pierce County is faring worse than the average county.

  • Over the last 13 years, we’ve seen a gradual improvement in Pierce County’s health rankings, reflecting the community’s collective resilience and adaptability.
  • The county has seen a positive trend in heath factors like:
    • Increases in physical activity.
    • The ratio of population to healthcare providers.
    • High school completion rates.
  • But we still have work to do. To further advance our county’s health outcomes and ensure continued progress, we must continue to collaborate with cross-sector partners and work alongside the community to develop strategies.
  • The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation changed how it reports county health this year: The organization is no longer ranking counties on health outcomes.
  • Instead, the report provides data on a continuum. This change should help determine where a county shares meaningful similarities or differences with other counties.

Questions? Email Naomi Wilson at nwilson@tpchd.org.

Don’t let syphilis turn your life upside down

You may have seen FOX 13’s story last week about our syphilis billboards. They join ads in places like TikTok, Spotify and Facebook with a simple message: If you’re 45 or younger and have sex, you need to get tested for syphilis!

  • Syphilis cases in Pierce County jumped sharply from 58 in 2016 to 711 in 2022.
  • We’ve also seen a big increase in babies born with syphilis.
  • Getting the word out about the importance of testing through our campaign is one of the ways we’re reversing this trend.  

Read our blog about the importance of getting tested. Learn more about sexually transmitted diseases.  

Read and share our reliable information

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