Public Health Department


Division Overview

The Tuolumne County Public Health Department operates within the County Health and Human Services Agency and is dedicated to promoting and protecting the health and well-being of the residents of Tuolumne County. The department officers a wide range of services designed to meet the diverse needs of our community. Our services work to prevent diseases, respond to emergencies, and promote health. The department strives to foster partnerships and collaborations with community organizations, healthcare providers, schools, and residents to create healthy environments.

Major Priorities of the Department

• Provide comprehensive public health services, education, and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all individuals and communities within Tuolumne County.

• Provide accessible, evidence-based, and equitable services that prioritize the needs of community members.

• Continuous operation of over 40 various health grants and programs that focus on the 10 Essential Public Health Services.

  • Assess and monitor population health status, factors that influence health, and community needs and assets
  • Investigate, diagnose, and address health problems and hazards affecting the population
  • Communicate effectively to inform and educate people about health, factors that influence it, and how to improve it
  • Strengthen, support, and mobilize communities and partnerships to improve health
  • Create, champion, and implement policies, plans, and laws that impact health
  • Utilize legal and regulatory actions designed to improve and protect the public’s health
  • Assure an effective system that enables equitable access to the individual services and care needed to be healthy
  • Build and support a diverse and skilled public health workforce
  • Improve and innovate public health functions through ongoing evaluation, research, and continuous quality improvement
  • Build and maintain a strong organizational infrastructure for public health

Departmental Programs

  • California Home Visiting Program (CHVP): Home visiting services are offered in the family’s home where teachable moments naturally arise. Working one-on-one with a home visiting professional, families can ask questions, discuss concerns and gain valuable information. Home visitors build relationships as they provide services tailored to each family’s needs. CHVP promotes maternal health and well-being, improve infant and child health and development, strengthen family functioning and cultivate strong communities.
  • Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP): CHDP is a program that provides health checkups to children enrolled in Medi-Cal and to children that are determined income-eligible. As a child grows, routine and complete physical examinations are important for good health. The CHDP program provides free health checkups for eligible children from birth to 21 years of age. CHDP can also help families find a doctor or dentist if they do not already have one. The CHDP exams are provided at local clinics.
  • Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP): CLPPP provides case management and coordination of services to children with lead poisoning. We provide outreach and education to the community and providers of care. Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected.

  • CalWORKS Home Visiting Program: The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Home Visiting Program (HVP), formerly known as the CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative (HVI), is a voluntary program that aims to support positive health development and well-being outcomes for pregnant and parenting people, families, and infants born into poverty, expand their future educational, economic, and financial capability opportunities, and improve the likelihood that they will exit poverty. The program is administered by the Department of Social Services, and Public Health houses the nurse home visiting component.
  • California Children’s Services (CCS): California Children’s Service is a statewide program that arranges, directs, and pays for medical care, equipment, and rehabilitation, for children and young adults who have eligible medical conditions and other eligibility components. However, it is important to know that CCS is not a health insurance plan and will not cover all the child’s health needs, only the CCS eligible condition (see additional story report for this program).
  • CalFresh Healthy Living: CalFresh Healthy Living (formerly SNAP-Ed) supports healthy, active, and nourished lifestyles, with an emphasis on communities with the greatest health disparities. We teach people of all ages about good nutrition, physical activity, and how to stretch food dollars, while building partnerships in the county to make the healthy choice the easy choice in our community.

  • Communicable Disease Program (CD), Disease Intervention Workforce Development Program (DIS): The Communicable Disease Program (CD) primary goal is the prevention of disease transmission. This is achieved by investigation of reportable diseases and surveillance for disease. Information is provided to the public about strategies for preventing the spread of disease. Examples include hand washing, consistent and correct use of condoms, and immunizations. Investigation of reportable diseases ensures that the individual who is ill has received proper treatment, has information to prevent transmission of the disease and that preventative treatment, when appropriate, is provided to close contacts at risk for disease.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Monkeypox (MPX): Through recent disease incidents, expanded programming was established to respond and build capacity for future infectious disease incidents. These include:
    • Epidemiology & Laboratory Capacity (ELC)
    • California Equitable Recovery Initiative (CERI)
    • COVID Immunization Action Plan (COVID IAP)
    • Crisis Co-Ag Workforce Development
  • Emergency Preparedness Programs- Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP), Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and Pandemic Flu (Pan Flu): These programs work closely together and in collaboration with our preparedness partners to build the public health, community, and healthcare system’s capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents and emergencies which impact health and safety in the county.

  • Foster Care Nursing: The Health Care Program for Children in Foster Care (HCPCFC) is a public health nursing program that provides public health nurse expertise in meeting the medical, dental, mental and developmental needs of children and youth in foster care. The nurse provides case management services to all children in foster care with the goal of ensuring all health/medical needs are addressed, and preventive health services are obtained. The nurse also participates in Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings that are strengths-based, family-centered team meetings that include foster youth and the key individuals in their life. The team works together to develop and implement case plans and other related services designed to meet the youth’s needs. The program also offers Health and Education Passports (HEP’s), which summarize all obtainable health and education information for children in foster care. The HEP includes the child’s immunizations, health alerts, hospitalizations, medications, mental health, dental, routine health visits, and educational information. The HEP accompanies the foster youth throughout out-of-home placement.
  • HIV/AIDS Surveillance Program: Our HIV program monitors HIV data, investigates new HIV cases, and provides case management to those with an HIV diagnosis. Additionally, we strive to prevent new infections, educate the community, and serve as a resource for providers.
  • Immunizations/Clinic: Immunization program protects the community with immunizations for all ages, infants through seniors in Tuolumne County. Services include:
    • Vaccines for infants, children, and teens
    • Adult vaccines such as Pneumonia, Tetanus, and Pertussis
    • Tuberculosis (TB) testing

  • Local Indigent Care Needs (LICN): Provide outreach, mobile care coordination, and expansion of resource information through 2-1-1 call service, focused on community members with the greatest challenges in accessing services.
  • Local Oral Health Program (LOHP): LOHP is to improve the oral health of Tuolumne County residents by collaborating with community partners to address disparities in education, prevention, and access to timely appropriate care. The program offers: Oral health education, information on dental disease prevention, assistance with referrals for the treatment of dental disease, community-based partnerships to improve the oral health outcomes for Tuolumne County residents.
  • Tobacco Control Program: The Public Health Tobacco Control and Prevention Program (TCPP) works to increase access to smoking, chewing, and vaping cessation services, reduce youth access to tobacco products and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke (see additional story report for this program).

  • Keep Baby Safe Program: Tuolumne County Public Health's Keep Baby Safe program provides education on proper child safety seat usage through car seat classes and installation coaching. The program offers free convertible or booster car seats (while supplies last) to caregivers who are participants of: Medi-Cal, WIC, CalWORKs, CalFresh. $20 coupons toward a booster seat or convertible car seat at Sonora Wal-Mart are available (as supplies last) for those who participate in a car seat education class offered through our certified Car Seat Technicians.
  • Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH): Serves families, pregnant women, and teens throughout Tuolumne County in a variety of ways with a goal of improving health and well-being. This is done through provider visits, home visits, support systems of care, education, and outreach and engagement. Our goal is to help improve your health by providing you with information and knowledge to care for yourself and children and connect you with community resources that may be appropriate for your needs.
  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC): WIC is a nutrition program that improves the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants, and children. WIC improves birth outcomes, improves diet and nutritional status, improves infant feeding practices, and improves medical outcomes. WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and aids, and community referrals, along with healthy food options (see additional story report for this program).

  • Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program: The TB control program provides education and resources to community partners, performs contact investigations to interrupt the spread of disease, provides case management for active TB cases, oversees the Direct Observed Therapy program, ensures appropriate hospital discharges of patients on TB disease medication, reports confirmed cases to the state.

Strategic Plan Alignment

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors conducts an annual workshop to establish and define strategic goals for the organization. In January of 2022, the Board opted to create a larger 2-year plan. The 2022 workshop produced a collection of objectives and action items within five primary focus areas. These areas are:

• Employee Excellence and Organizational Resilience

• Community Health and Prosperity

• Fire Prevention and Safety

• Roads and Infrastructure

• Public Safety

Many Tuolumne County Departments are involved in the execution of the Board of Supervisor's strategic plan either directly, or in a supporting role. Below are the strategic Objectives and Action Items that are under the purview of the Public Health Department.

*Note that some Objectives and Action Items will appear on the lists of other Departments.

**More Detailed reports on the progress on Objectives and Action Items can be found here.

Contributions to the Strategic Plan

Fire Prevention and Safety

Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP) includes objectives focused on maintaining and increasing multiple capabilities to prepare, respond, and recover from emergencies and incidents in our community. One such capability is Mass Care & Shelter, and our PHEP team has been working with County Office of Emergency Services (OES) to finalize the County Mass Care & Shelter Plan for presentation to the Board of Supervisors. This is anticipated to be completed by the end of the 2023 calendar year.

Allocated Positions by Year

Adopted Budget By Year

* Each department is part of a "Fund". Many times a department or even a fund may show greater expense then revenues for the current fiscal year. This does not account for money that was not spent in prior years, also known as "beginning fund balance". When creating the annual budget Counties are required by law to adopted a balanced budget, meaning the total expense can not exceed the sum of revenue plus beginning fund balances.

Accomplishments of the Department (FY 2023)

The department achievements over the last year all work towards improving and expanding service delivery of current and new programs and in improving strategies for success recruitment and retainment of staff. While the department continues to participate in HHSA-wide research and planning efforts related to relocation to the former Tuolumne General facility, we also continually review current staffing levels and infrastructure needs and make necessary modifications to ensure needs are met at our current location.

Ultimately, regardless of location, the Public Health Department has been hard at work serving Tuolumne County. The following section is a non-exhaustive list of things that the Public Health staff has accomplished in FY 2023.

  • Launch of departmental internship program. In our effort to build a public health pipeline, the department developed an improved internship infrastructure, mentoring, and evaluation process. Over the past year, the departmental welcomed a diverse group of interns who have made helpful contributions to our programs. Their fresh perspectives and enthusiasm have not only enhanced our team's productivity, but also provided invaluable learning opportunities for the interns themselves. We have received positive feedback from our interns and supervisors, and we look forward to expanding and further enriching our internship program in the coming years. This year the department hosted 2 undergraduate interns from UC Merced and CSU Stanislaus, a dental public health resident from UC San Francisco, and a nurse intern from CSU Stanislaus. The department intern project has provided an opportunity to collaborate with the IT Department’s internship efforts to share resources and practices to develop a internship model for the County. Overall, our internship accomplishment has significantly worked towards the department’s 2022/2023 goal of improving employee recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Expansion on workplace wellness efforts. To better support staff mental and physical health following sustained emergency response and to build morale, the department sought feedback from staff and created a dedicated wellness room where staff can recharge during hectic days, continued monthly social and learning activities to promote staff cohesion and morale, and engaged in the Blue Zones healthy workplace initiative. The department’s concerted effort to recognize and emphasize the importance of well-being and work-life balance has yielded positive results. Preliminary feedback from staff indicates that department cohesion and wellness efforts increase their desire to stay within the department which works towards the department 2022/2023 goal in improving retention strategies.

    Acquisition of new grants and funding sources. In the last year, TCPH has applied for and secured new funding sources to support public health infrastructure, services, and workforce development. The department has successful applied for and received funding in the following grants: Local Indigent Care Needs (LICN) that will support a mobile health van, Future of Public Health Funding (FOPH). These grants enable the department to improve the delivery of essential public health services, implement innovative initiatives, and address emerging health needs in our community which works towards the department 2022/2023 goal of acquiring funding to expand program services.

  • Renewed community engagement post-COVID. TCPH has increased presence in the community in the last year. Programs participate in on average 2-3 major outreach events per month and several in-school education activities including local oral health program dental screenings, youth coalition building at local high schools, tobacco education, and sex education presentations. Each program has revamped their outreach strategies to improve engagement with the public which works towards the public health goal of expanding programming and innovation per the essential public health services.
  • Continued COVID-19 response activities and transition away from emergency operations. The department has been conducting emergency response activities since February 2020, but in the last year the team pivoted to integrating COVID-19 activities into regular operations and shifting away from emergency response. The department continues to operate vaccination clinics and promote COVID-19 prevention, including testing, infection prevention, and response to local outbreaks. In 2022, over 20,000 unique COVID-19 vaccinations were provided in Tuolumne County through local pharmacies, clinics, and by TCPH clinics. This achievement works toward the department’s 2022/2023 goal of supporting staffing and programming to prevent disease transmission and prevention strategies

  • Expanding epidemiology research efforts and data report publications. The increase in staffing in the Epidemiology Unit has enabled the department to embark on data projects that were previously unattainable, such as data mining large databases to conduct disease surveillance, identify and monitor emerging health threats, and evaluating the impact of interventions. Through the Epidemiology Unit, the department released the Tuolumne County Suicide data report, which provided valuable insights into local suicide rates to support our community partners efforts to address and prevent suicide. Publishing a major data report via an analysis of statewide data sources is a significant milestone for the department. This report, and future reports, serve as a foundation for evidence-based decision-making and resource allocation for all departmental programs and grant applications. This enhanced data-driven approach has bolstered our ability to proactively address local public health challenges and guide policy and program development which all-in-all works towards the department’s 2022/2023 goal of expanding and improving programming.
  • Presentations provided at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference. For the first time, the department was able to send staff to the APHA Annual Conference and had the opportunity for two poster presentations and an oral presentation to present our department’s work in workplace wellness, oral health, and tobacco control at a national level. This achievement works towards the department 2022/2023 goal of program expansion and working towards meeting the public health essential functions in improving and innovating public health functions through ongoing evaluation, research, and continuous quality improvement.
  • Increased community education on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and access to condoms. Through the new Disease Intervention Specialist Workforce Development Program (DIS), the department has developed new connections with local businesses and organizations to increase education on STIs and the accessibility of condoms. The program successfully distributed 30,000 condoms since November 2022 to various organizations in the community in an effort to promote safe and responsible sexual health practices. Additionally, the program has allowed for increased capacity to investigate disease cases and work to mitigate transmission and risk to the public.
  • Expansion of health equity efforts and partnering with community-based organizations. In the last year, TCPH has fostered working partnerships with community-based organizations that served the unhoused and other underserved residents. By collaborating with these organizations, the department has been able to better reach these populations to address their unique health needs and challenges to support access to health services. These partnerships have not only expanded our reach but fostered a more inclusive and supportive environment for vulnerable individuals and families in our community. This achievement works toward the department’s 2022/2023 goal of expanding programming and ensuring our service delivery meets the public health essential services standards.

  • Launch of Public Health newsletter. As daily COVID reporting began to transition and as the health emergency drew to a close, we transitioned these updates to a monthly Public Health Spotlight to reach our stakeholders, partners, and the community with multiple current issues related to public health.
  • Improved Public Health communications. In the last year, the department onboarded a staff member dedicated to supporting departmental communications and media efforts. With the additional staffing resources, the department has been able to develop and implement comprehensive communication strategies that effectively engage and inform the public about important health topics, programs, and initiatives. In the last few months, the department has observed a notable increase in social media engagement, with following reach increasing approximately 5% each month and impression reach ranging from 5000 to 8000 unique impressions each month on our Facebook pages. Our Instagram followers have reached over 1000 followers with a rapid increase in engagement aligning with the expansion of the communications unit. Our programs have been able to utilize features such as reels and close captioning to ensure that our messaging is inclusive and relevant. Development of a formal TCPH Communications Unit has enabled the department to expand the depth of coverage to Public Information Officer duties, strengthened internal processes for emergency communications, provided support to all TPCH programs to enhance messaging. The new unit coordinates with regional partners such as the Yosemite Area Gateway Coordination Team communications staff as well as with all TCPH programs. The increased capacity has enabled us to deliver timely and accurate information through various social media and traditional channels, enhancing community awareness of TCPH programs and promoting healthy behavior change, which ultimately works towards improving public health outcomes and meets the department 2022/2023 goal of expanding and improving programs and services.go into further detail about the data or media being shown. Think about how the visualizations help tell your story. You can make your content more accessible by choosing words and phrases you’d use when talking to a neighbor, using short sentences and avoiding jargon.

Looking Forward – Goals for FY 2024 (And Beyond)

  • Evaluate its internal employee health and wellness initiatives and seek feedback from staff on utilization of the staff wellness room, assess participation in department wellness activities, and review data from Stay Interviews and Monthly Meeting interviews to identify other strategies, including the completion of our staff wellness room, to improve recruitment and retention.
  • Conduct multiple strategic planning efforts including, overall staffing and program planning as emergency funding sources expire, succession planning, investigating public health accreditation process and determine feasibility and/or timeline.
  • Prepare two additional grant programs to be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval: Public Health Career Ladder (PHCL) and California Strengthening Public Health Initiative (CASPHI).
  • Complete Community Health Assessment supplement and Community Health Improvement Plan.
  • Participate and provide input to the HHSA relocation planning activities, with the goal of integration, enhanced community services, and positive staff morale.