Leslie Horton, MA, MCHES was appointed Director of Yavapai County Community Health Services of the public health department in March 2017. With 15 years of public health experience and a comprehensive knowledge of YCCHS programs, Horton currently works to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of public health services throughout Yavapai County.
Horton is a well-respected member of the MATFORCE and Northland Cares boards of directors, has developed strong working relationships with local government officials, community leaders and the Arizona State Department of Health Services leadership team. She leads a department of nearly 75 employees and a budget of over $5.5 million annually.
As a new Health Services Director, her primary goal was the initiation of the Community Health Assessment (CHA) to determine the local health priorities and to guide future program objectives.
“The CHA is an integral part of my plan to better understand the health needs of this community and direct this organization in a smart and respectful manner,” Horton said.
YCCHS hired a consultant to help with this undertaking, and after collecting health data, conducting a community survey and collecting input from key health partners and elected officials and conducting interviews with the public, 2017 CHA was completed in July. Next, the Community Health Improvement Partnership was guided through the development of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which kicked off January 2018.
YCCHS provides services through over 30 grant-funded programs, reaching people of all ages and having the goal of improving health and wellness for all. The programs include immunizations for children and adults, home-visiting programs for families with new babies, health consultations for child-care centers, school-based and community-based health education, prescription drug abuse prevention, chronic disease and pain self-management, in-home services for veterans, WIC nutrition support, breast feeding peer support, food-plus for seniors, HIV and hepatitis C testing and vital records.
YCCHS has an environmental health section, which provides inspections to food facilities and pools, monitors mosquito populations and provides food-handler trainings. YCCHS also responds to public health issues and other emergencies with a strong Medical Reserve Corps of volunteers and staff members, who are well-trained in emergency response. In 2017, YCCHS received grant funding to expand services and initiate an autism screening and diagnosis program, a nursing program to provide in-home visits for substance-exposed newborns and a program to help food establishments improve compliance with food safety laws.
The YCCHS team has created many innovative programs to address local health issues. To improve on the very low vaccination rates in Yavapai, they educate parents and provide school immunization clinics in schools and free flu shot clinics in the rural communities. To inspire health among youth, the Yavapai Healthy Schools partnership awards schools for making wellness a priority. To address the current opioid crisis, YCCHS employs several strategies to prevent drug abuse and reduce overdose death rates. Through the newly developed Substance Exposed Newborn Safe Environment (SENSE) and by working with pregnant women in jail, mothers who might risk having to give up their babies are able to better prepare for birth and parenthood.
For more information on YCCHS programs and to see a copy of the Community Health Improvement Plan, please visit our website, yavapaihealth.com.