Livingston County Health Department is moving from the old to the new

The Livingston County Health Department will move from its old building, right, to its new building on February 22. The LCHD will be closed February 14-18 as staff move everything from building to building.

After 100 years, the Livingston County Health and Education Building will finally be retired as the Livingston County Health Department opens the doors to its new building on Tuesday, February 22.

Built in 1922 as the Livingston County Sanitarium, the site was initially dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis, containing 38 beds for Livingston County residents suffering from the disease.

The LCHD was established in 1966 by a resolution of Livingston County Council, then approved by popular vote in a referendum in 1976, finally consolidating tuberculosis and public health in 1980 and achieving certified public health service status by the Illinois Department of Public Health. (IDPH).

LCHD has significantly expanded its public health services since 1966, changing from a public health nursing agency to a full-service health service in 1976. More comprehensive health services have been established over the years , such as maternal and child care, school health, food and water security, environmental health, family planning and STD testing/treatment, emergency preparedness, health screenings and vaccinations.

A member of the Livingston County Board of Health since 1976 and chairman of the board since 1983, James Day, DDS, has been integral to the growth of the health department.

“Thanks to the continued investments made by Livingston County Council, the essential public health services our county has relied on for years will now be delivered in a building better suited to meet the needs of our community members,” Jour said. “We are grateful to the council for their continued efforts to support the health of our county.”

Although times have changed, Livingston County’s public health needs remain. Beginning in 1968, maternal and child health services have since transformed to meet the needs of the whole family with programs like Family Case Management; Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Healthy Families Illinois; better birth outcomes; and Family planning and STD testing/treatment.

In 1971, LCHD nurses were busy facilitating a county-wide oral polio vaccination program in cooperation with schools in Livingston County; so did vaccination efforts in 2009 for H1N1 and in 2021 for COVID-19. During the encephalitis outbreak of 1976, LCHD advised communities in Livingston regarding mosquito breeding grounds and prevention of vector-borne disease, as was the more recent West Nile virus.

Routine inspections of catering establishments were also initiated in 1976 and continue today.

The Case Coordination Unit (CCU) program was started in 1983 to help seniors at home and remains active. The Hubert Wellness Clinic was established in 1988 with funds from the Michael Hubert Trust of Dwight to help residents identify health risks early and still serves county residents today.

LCHD’s only school health center was opened in 1995 at Pontiac Township High School and continues to care for students. Beginning just four years later and still active, the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program was started at LCHD to help women with their cancer screenings and treatments.

When the Illinois Smoke-Free Act in 2008 was implemented by the state legislature, it was LCHD that helped county businesses make the healthy change and continues to enforce the law and to help stop smoking and prevent.

The agency’s history is so immense that this list captures only a portion of the public health support and services that have impacted Livingston County.

Gladys Kohrt

Gladys Kohrt

While many have helped cultivate strong public health programs in Livingston County, few have had the impact that Gladys Kohrt, RN, and MaLinda Hillman, RN, have had at the health department. Beginning their careers at LCHD as public health nurses, both went on to become the agency’s longest serving administrators with a total of 42 years – Kohrt having held the position from 1971 to 1990 and Hillman having served from 1996 to 2019.

As one of the first nurses employed by LCHD, Kohrt was instrumental in establishing a strong foundation for the health department.

“Gladys was instrumental in creating the agency’s public health nursing program and Medicare enrollment for home health services,” Hillman said. “She established a well-run program that helped lay the foundation for all of our public health efforts that followed.”

Sadly, Kohrt passed away in 2001; however, her care for the LCHD continues as the Gladys Kohrt Donation Fund provides professional development assistance for staff.

MaLinda Hillman

MaLinda Hillman

MaLinda Hillman, an LCHD nurse of 39 years and Kohrt’s protege, has further strengthened the agency’s programs and funding during her 23 years as an administrator.

In 1966, the agency began with a budget of $7,500 and facilitated 761 nursing home visits. When Hillman retired in November 2019, LCHD had a budget of $1,205,254, nearly half of which came from grants, and had expanded to more than 30 public health programs serving nearly 10,000 residents. of Livingston County.

In 2016, LCHD celebrated its 50th anniversary and was recognized by IDPH as having “established a distinguished record of achievement and dedication to providing quality healthcare services in North Central Illinois.”

Jackie Dever

Jackie Dever

Speaking about the history of the health department, Jackie Dever, current administrator and nurse at LCHD since 1990, said: ‘As we prepare to move and find remnants of our past in our century-old building, it is overwhelming to think of all the people helped over the years and the positive impact LCHD has had in the county. We are grateful and excited to continue our long tradition of proudly serving Livingston County in a new building that will better serve our community.

The Livingston <a class=County Health Department will be closed the week of February 14. It will reopen on February 22 at its new location, which is still the address of 310 E. Torrance Ave.” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/nLFG3F4zRPPY._f2HcN1uw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTgwOA–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/ajnDneHOcEIDoCAI3W7XyA–~B/aD0xNzY4O3c9MjEwMDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/daily-leader/b358911f3e300372ce27df04e5e5b013″/>

The Livingston County Health Department will be closed the week of February 14. It will reopen on February 22 at its new location, which is still the address of 310 E. Torrance Ave.

The LCHD will be closed to the public from February 14 to 18 during the move. LCHD staff are asking county residents to please plan accordingly if they require resources from the health department. The building may change, but the address will remain the same – 310 E Torrance Ave, Pontiac. The new building will be open to the public on Tuesday, February 22 (closed on 2/21 for President’s Day). Demolition plans for the old building will follow at a later date.

This article originally appeared on Pontiac Daily Leader: LCHD enters new digs with February 22nd opening