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Health Department Staffers Hit the Streets with Prevention Message

April 11, 2008 — With prevention a Health Department focus, a hearty band of staff members at the Morris deCastro Clinic on St. John set off Friday morning to put what they preach into practice.
They walked the nearly two miles from the clinic in Cruz Bay to Hawksnest Beach in sneakers and jeans and shorts to wrap up Public Health Week activities.
"We're getting the message out about prevention," said Lynette George, the Health Department's St. Thomas-based acting deputy commissioner. The walk will encourage healthy lifestyles, she said.
The staff agreed.
"Walking is healthy," said Myia Powell, the clinic's mental health professional. "It's a circulatory thing. It gets the blood pumping."
Once at Hawksnest Beach, the staff planned to swim, play beach games and enjoy lunch.
"Maybe play a little water polo," Powell said.
It was also day for the staff to enjoy each other's company. No clinic services were available Friday.
All week the staff offered information about hypertension, diabetes, women's health, immunization and domestic violence as part of the department's Public Health Week outreach activities, said Jane Washburn, the department's public health nurse on St. John. But the effort failed to reach the community.
"Not one person came," Washburn said. There appears to be a disconnect in the community about the need for prevention, she said.
Powell outlined the services provided at deCastro: mental health, dental, women's health, immunization, maternal and child health, and medical-assistance services. She thinks some people confuse the Health Department facility with the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center, located in Susannaberg. Powell recently overheard a taxi driver tell tourists on his tour that the clinic was the island's hospital.
Call the deCastro Clinic at 776-6400.
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