The Champaign County Health District is hoping for a healthy start to the new year with a new commissioner.
Gabriel Jones, who has worked for the Clark County Health District for about four years in charge of its epidemiology program, started as the new commissioner in Champaign County on Thursday.
“My goal in coming into public health was to be a health commissioner,” Jones said. “I am excited for this opportunity to serve the residents of Champaign County. I hope that I can bring some knowledge and expertise that will be beneficial to the community.”
Health Districts across Ohio are responsible for promoting a healthy lifestyle for the residents that it serves. Health Districts also monitor the health of the community and aids in minimizing the spread of disease.
Jones, who graduated from Miami University and has a masters in public health from Wright State University, managed a program in Clark County that consisted of surveilling communicable diseases in the area and putting a stop to them before they began to spread.
“I also monitored health trends and conducted research to evaluate what the most at-risk populations were in the county and used evidence based practices to try and improve the health of the community,” Jones said.
Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said Jones worked hard to serve the people of Clark County and that he is happy Jones has the opportunity to lead an office.
“Gabe is an exceptional young man,” Patterson said. “You can speak with folks across our community and Champaign County and they will tell you that.
“Gabe is our rock star,” he said. “We knew we couldn’t’ keep him forever. We enjoyed our time with him here in Clark County.”
Plans for 2017 are already on their way, Jones said. The office has identified different areas of the county they would like to promote health awareness. They also plan to host an improvement plan meeting in January to discuss the offices plans and goals for the next couple of years.
He said it is important for health organizations and districts to start planning a new way to reach people in the the community they serve.
“We expected people to come to us in the past,” he said. “I think we need to get out in the community more.”
He said he wants to lead that new way of thinking.
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“Basically I want to be the face of wellness in the community,” Jones said. “I plan on going to more meetings and talking with people. I want people to know what we can offer to them and what we can do for them.”
He said he wants people to know the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and what it can do for a community.
“The goals is to improve the health of the community,” he said. “The economy is better and the overall morale is higher. It is better for the community.”