Nassau health department again wins national model practice award

The Nassau County Department of Health is shown The Nassau County Department of Health is shown in Uniondale on March 7, 2013. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

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The Nassau County Department of Health has for the second year in a row won a national model practice award.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials on Wednesday announced that Nassau was among 22 health departments nationally to win a model practice award for its Environmental Health Residential Development Protection Program.

The program is designed to ensure that all residential developments in the county have safe public water supply and sewage disposal systems.

Nassau's Bureau of Minority Health also won a promising practice award for an initiative to encourage a healthier diet in communities at high risk for obesity and chronic diseases.

"This shows that we're really addressing the needs of the county," said Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein.

This brings to 10 the number of model practice awards the county has won since 2003, when the association -- which includes 2,700 local health departments -- first began giving them. Last year, the county won three model practice awards.

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Developed by public health engineer Michael Alarcon, the environmental protection program strives to "break down silos" by making sure engineers are aware of all aspects of the review and approval process, said Alarcon's colleague, Angela Pettinelli, also a public health engineer.

"This is a check and balance to ensure that a property is safe for residential development," she said.

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