Ontario County Public Health In the News

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Geneva Food Justice Coalition

Ontario County Public Health is proud to support efforts to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Geneva Food Justice Coalition has been hard at work gleaning fresh fruits and vegetables and redistributing them to groups like:

  • Families living in the Geneva Foundry contamination zone
  • Geneva Free Lunch Program
  • Geneva Salvation Army
  • Geneva Boys and Girls Club
  • Elmcrest Apartments
  • Phelps Community Center
  • Canandaigua Churches in Action

A very special "Thank You" to the Geneva Food Justice Coalition, Teresa Shaffer (Ontario County Public Health Nurse) and Henry Farro for your efforts to provide nutritious foods to people in need. (Teressa Shaffer and Henry Farro are pictured on th left. Photo credit Finger Lakes Times) 

Want to help?

Call the Ontario County Public Health if you or your service organization would like to help with the Geneva Food Justice Coalition at 1-800-299-2995.

View the article featured int he Finger Lakes Times (9/18/2017): Click here

(Updated 9/19/2017)

School bus safety

 Children's Lives Are in Your Hands


Ontario County Public Health encourages residents to share the road with school buses. Important bus safety laws to remember:

  • When a school bus displays flashing red lights, all motorists approaching the bus from either direction must come to a full stop.
  • Drivers must remain stopped until red lights are turned off and the school bus resumes motion, or until signaled to do so by the bus driver or a police officer. 
  • Simply waiting for kids to board the bus is not sufficient. Red flashing lights  must be OFF.

Section 1174 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law applies to quiet country roads and busy city streets. It also includes  four-lane roads with medians. 


View the article featured in the Daily Messenger (9/1/2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (9/3/2017): Click here

Updated 9/3/2017

Baby Café Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

Ontario County Public Health  works with Child & Family Resources and UR Thompson Health to provide families with parenting support, connection to community resources and no cost breastfeeding help at the Canandaigua Baby Cafe.  The Baby Cafe is open on the first and third Wednesdays of every month from 10:00-11:30 at the  Child & Family Resource center (514 South Main Street in Canandaigua). A Clinical Lactation Counselor (CLC) is available free of charge at every Baby Cafe to help mothers reach their breastfeeding goals.  All mothers are welcome to attend the Baby Cafe.

Read the entire article today! Click here

(Updated 8/3/2017)

Look Before you Locke

Look Before You Lock! 


Ontario County Public Health encourages residents to check the back seat for baby every time you get out of your vehicle. Ask your childcare provider  to call you if your baby doesn’t show up as planned. Always keep cars locked and the keys out of reach of children. If a child is missing – quickly check your car. Lastly, a car is not a babysitter. NEVER leave a child alone inside a vehicle, not even for a minute.

View the article featured in the Daily Messenger (7/19/2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (7/19/2017): Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

Lead Poisoning Prevention 2017 Graphic

Guest essay: Lead poisoning tests essential for children’s health

Ontario County children with high lead levels almost always have been  poisoned by lead paint in their homes after ingesting lead chips or  dust. Dust and chips can be released simply by opening a window  previously painted with lead paint. Unsafe repair practices in homes  built before 1978 can release lead dust into your home, as well. Lead  dust can poison your children.

Have your child’s blood tested for  lead, twice. For children exposed to lead, blood lead levels tend to  increase in the first two years of life and peak by 18-24 months.  Because children with lead poisoning usually don’t act or look sick, New  York State Public Health law requires all children be tested at ages 1  and 2. Repeat testing at 2 is important, because toddlers are active  explorers and put everything in their mouths. In 2016, only 50 percent  of children living in Ontario County received lead testing at age 2.

View the entire guest essay in the Daily Messenger (July 14, 2017): Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017

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Blue Green Algae

Press release pertaining to Blue Green Algae and the temporary closure of Sandy Bottom Beach on Honeoye Lake. 

View the article from the Daily Messenger (July 12, 2017): Click here


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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's)


Every Positive Interaction With Youth Matters. Help make kids resilient!

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention notes that both positive and negative childhood experiences significantly impact adult wellness. Findings from the study note that the higher an adult ACE score,  the higher the chance of becoming a victim of violence or committing a violent act. High ACE scores are  also linked to a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, drug abuse, obesity, type 2 diabetes, pulmonary disease, stroke, cancer, heart disease and cancer. This makes ACEs  an important public health issue that merits attention and action. To know your ACE score is to know your risk.

In 2006, a group of childhood service providers, pediatricians,  psychologists and health advocates of Healthy Start in Augusta, Maine, developed a survey  to measure a person’s resiliency score. Resiliency factors like asking for help, developing trusting relationships, a positive attitude and listening to one’s feelings can  help improve a person’s life. 

Every positive interaction you have with a child has the potential to impact that child’s risk to chronic disease 20 years down the road. Foster care  workers, volunteers for Boy Scouts, Big Brother/Big Sister, sports team  coaches, community centers — these interactions matter. 

View the article featured in the Finger Lakes Times (June 28, 2017): Click here

View the article featured in the Community Health Magazine (June 28, 2017): Click here

Take the ACE and Resiliency questionnaires: Click here

Updated: 7/20/2017


Choose Health Ontario Award Presented to Geneva Resident


Deacon Henry Farro Honored for Community Work


On March 28, 2017, Jack Marren (Victor), Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and Mary Beer, Director of Public Health, presented the Choose Health Ontario Award to Henry Farro of Geneva for his commitment to supporting nutritional health in the community.  The award was presented at the 54th Annual Safety Awards Dinner sponsored by the Ontario County Safety Council. (Submitted March 29, 2017)

Mary Krause Mary Beer Pam Helming

2017 Women Who Make America (Makers) Award


Mary Beer Wins Award
Mary Beer, Director of Ontario County Public  Health has been formally recognized for her tireless efforts in the  field of Public Health. Mary Beer, was one of ten women honored at the  March 10, 2017 award ceremony held at the Women’s Rights Historical Park  in Seneca Falls. Mary was nominated for her laser-focus on public  health needs during her tenure as Ontario County Public Health Director.  She has worked tirelessly to adopt a local law prohibiting smoking,  including the use of e-cigarettes, on County property – efforts that  have reduced smoking rates countywide. She has developed creative  programs aimed at decreasing obesity, managing hypertension, preventing  suicide, and fighting the scourge of the heroin crisis. A leader in her  field, she is an active member of the S2AY Rural Health Network working  on national accreditation procedures for public health departments in  the region. Mary also believes in the importance of volunteering. She  serves on a number of local boards and is an active Hospice volunteer,  dedicated Rotarian, and a bell choir member.

Congratulations Mary and thank you for years of services as the Director of Ontario County Public Health. (March 24, 2017)

Read the full article in the Finger Lakes Times: Click here

2016-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan


Top Three Priorities in Ontario County Identified

In 2016, Ontario County Public Health (OCPH) worked with area hospitals, S2AY Rural Health Network and other community leaders to complete a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and develop a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Through this effort, three priorities areas were identified.

  • Priority 1: Prevent chronic diseases (including hypertension) by  reducing the rates of obesity and tobacco use.
  • Priority 2: Increase access to preventative healthcare.
  • Priority 3: Promote mental health and prevent substance abuse.

View the full article from the Finger Lakes Times (January 3, 2017): Click here

Updated 7/20/2017)