For more than 100 years, the health department has been a vital part of improving and maintaining the health of Rowan County citizens. Under the direction of the Rowan County Board of Health, the health department was given its official start in January 1918 in a few small rooms on the 2nd floor of the county courthouse. The first fulltime employees were a health officer (Dr. A.J. Warren), a sanitarian, and a clerical assistant. Beginning in 1919, Dr. Charles Armstrong served as the health officer for the next 42 years.
As an employee of the health department, Dr. Armstrong was quite vocal about the public’s responsibility for their health. In 1923 he said – “If you have never gotten anything out of the money you pay towards supporting your HD, it is your fault … our services are yours to command and we appreciate being called upon.” Among his first accomplishments was the establishment of a system of reporting and quarantining of contagious diseases, one of the greatest public health concerns at that time. Early on, the Board of Health and the health department often used their powers to suspend public gatherings and post quarantines, especially for children, due to outbreaks of measles, influenza, small pox, typhoid, scarlet fever, polio and meningitis. Special health projects were often accomplished with the assistance of the Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Lions Council, Civitans, city and county schools and the citizens of Rowan County. The Kiwanis Health Camp to prevent children from developing TB (1927 to at least 1948), rabies vaccination clinics conducted by local veterinarians like Dr. T. L. James (1951 to the 1999) and pastors preaching about the importance of good health the 3rd Sunday of the month (1947) are among the more interesting and collaborative efforts. In 1952, the health department moved to a new building at 1216 West Innes Street and to 1890 Old Concord Road in February 1975.
Today, Alyssa Harris is our Public Health Director and we have been located at 1811 East Innes Street since September 1999. Protecting the health of citizens looks a little different than it did back in 1919; however, the message is still the same. We strive to promote, prevent, and protect the health of all 146,000 citizens in Rowan. Our services include: adult and child primary care, immunizations, communicable disease investigation and prevention, care management for children and for high risk pregnancies, dental care for children, WIC nutrition programming, Environmental health monitoring, and health education and promotion.
Rowan County Health Department has been protecting the health of the county for a hundred years!
Our mission is to provide and to encourage the provision of quality public health programs that protect and promote health, prevent and control disease, reduce and rehabilitate disability, as well as establish and maintain healthful lifestyles in a safe environment. This will be accomplished by assessing local health needs, developing public health policies, and assuring delivery of needed community services.
A healthier Rowan County through collaboration across agencies and with community partners.
Our core values include