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Washington County to participate in health surveillance program with CDC

Washington County health officials are partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study health and census data to better track incidences of heart disease and stroke in the county's population.

The project will map morbidity, mortality and census data to help pinpoint populations at-risk of chronic diseases. That, in-turn, will help the health department tailor and focus disease prevention efforts, said Lowell Johnson, director of the Public Health and Environment department.

"In times of scarce resources we need to work smarter," Johnson told Washington County Board members last week.

Washington County is one of five local health departments selected to participate in the program. The others are nearby Hennepin County; Boston; Cambridge, Mass.; and Rockland, NY.

The county will receive an equipment needs assessment, a software grant to cover costs for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) surveillance software, and GIS training from the University of Michigan.