Thank God the Dallas Morning News
has weighed in on the public-health issues facing Dallas County with an editorial
that urges the County Commissioners to split the health department from the county's Department of Health and Human Services. The mid-90's merger of public health and welfare functions, says the editorial, was "to cut overhead costs. The budget concerns back then may have been justified. But they have been overtaken by today's more pressing challenges. For one, the county has had to step up its bioterrorism preparedness in this post-9-11 world. And that duty is certain to grow." More importantly:
many physicians have become concerned about the combined department's apparently poor record of controlling diseases. The Dallas County Medical Society cites the county's alarming rates of sexually transmitted diseases, its high incidence of tuberculosis and its low rate of childhood immunizations. A re-energized Health Department would be better able to identify public health problems early on and map out strategies for solving them.
The medical society
-- under the leadership (on this issue, as on so many more) of past president Robert Haley -- also deserves our thanks for jaw-boning the county (and the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News
, apparently) for adequate public health resources and controls.