Public Health Summit VI Convenes Record Number of Community Partners; Nearly Three Dozen Community Interventions Highlighted

Public Health Summit VI Convenes Record Number of Community Partners;Nearly Three Dozen Community Interventions Highlighted

Brewster, NY—More than 78 public health partners from 47 different community agencies convened at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) on Tuesday, June 6, for the Sixth Annual Public Health Summit, organized by the Putnam County Department of Health with support from the hospital. The event serves as an opportunity for community health partners to discuss progress on the Community Health Improvement (CHIP) plan, and to learn of new developments concerning the county’s various health priorities.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell praised Putnam’s public health system, saying “The silos are being eliminated. Partnership was one of the things that impressed the Public Health Accreditation Board when the health department received national accreditation earlier this year. It’s wonderful to see the collaboration between the health department, county mental health services, Putnam Hospital Center and all other community agencies—with a common goal of keeping our residents healthy.” PHC president James Caldas, Open Door President and CEO Lindsay Farrell, Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Michael Piazza, and Interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, were among the other attending public and healthcare leaders.

The format for the half-day event was streamlined from previous summits, with an initial data presentation by Erin Pascaretti, the health department’s epidemiologist, followed by panel presentations and discussions by community partners on current interventions, many of which were evidenced-based programs.

Nearly three dozen community interventions were highlighted by panel presenters who were

convened to tackle the two CHIP priorities—promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse, and preventing chronic diseases. Mental health interventions in place include mental health first aid training; safeTALK, suicide prevention training, CIT (crisis intervention team) training for law enforcement; ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training); anti-stigma media campaigns; Text4Teens initiative; Lifelines curriculum in most school districts; and peer-to-peer mental health programs. Substance abuse initiatives were discussed such as the Communities That Care (CTC) Coalitions, whose work brings together multi-sector disciplines including community organizations, schools, and government entities to work on substance abuse prevention strategies. Chronic disease initiatives including work-site wellness programs, school gardens and tobacco prevention and cessation strategies were also discussed.

Preventing chronic diseases, along with promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse, have so far remained the top health priorities in Putnam. With the growing opioid addiction problem in the county, similar to what other communities are experiencing nationwide, Putnam formally incorporated substance abuse prevention into its CHIP last year and Putnam’s priorities now mirror exactly those crafted by the New York State Department of Health’s Prevention Agenda 2013-2017.

Putnam residents and those who work in the county can also participate in the CHIP process, by taking the online community asset survey, accessible through the homepage of the Putnam County website at until July 31. The direct link is

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at or visit the social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.