Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Oakland County’s Health Officer Kathleen Forzley to the Public Health Advisory Commission, a 24-person body which will complete an assessment of the current public health service delivery system in Michigan. They will review the organization of public health functions within and across the state’s executive departments; the division of responsibilities between state and local public health authorities; and the regulatory framework established by the Public Health Code, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“Oakland County Health Division recently conducted a similar public health assessment which was a game changer in terms of delivering public health services to our residents,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Kathy’s leadership and experience in completing our assessment will without a doubt be an asset to the Public Health Advisory Commission.”
Back in 2014, Forzley and Director of Health and Human Services George Miller launched an initiative called ECHO which stands for Energizing Connections for Healthier Oakland. The county and its public health partners conducted a comprehensive countywide assessment of residents and businesses in 2015 to get the big picture of health practices in the county and the health status of our residents. This was the most comprehensive assessment on this scale in Michigan.
Health Division looked at 11 core categories which included health resource availability, behavioral risk factors, maternal and child health, environmental health, and more. Oakland County is utilizing the data to reshape the focus of its public health policies and initiatives in a way that will have the greatest impact on improving the overall health of residents.
In June, Oakland County and its 32 health partners in this effort announced a Community Health Improvement Plan based on the ECHO survey. We asked Oakland County businesses and organizations to align their health and wellness strategies with ECHO. Buy-in from Oakland County companies will help move the needle on public health forward in Oakland County.
“We learned a great deal about our health in Oakland County,” Forzley said. “I will share those insights with the governor’s Public Health Advisory Commission in order to help improve public health services in Michigan.”
Forzley, a Troy resident and manager of the Oakland County Health Division, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental health and a master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University.