BY BRIANA THOMPSON
SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES
The little boy splashing in the pool, the lady turning on her faucet and filling her pot with water to cook dinner, the mother getting her child immunized, and the family making an effort to eat fruits and vegetables daily all have something in common.
They are examples of public health everywhere. And now these images are on display for all to see in a walk-through “Public Health is Everywhere” photo exhibit.
“It was important to use my skills to capture the work of public health employees in the field,” said Leo Creary, photographer. “Over the past four years, I have taken pictures of beauty, fashion and lifestyle campaigns, but capturing images of public health in Volusia County has been my most challenging and rewarding assignment.”
Creary is a mass communications major at Bethune-Cookman University. He took the photos and helped to create the exhibit while an intern this semester for the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County.
The photo exhibit was designed to raise awareness to the role and importance of public health in the community.
“Public health is more than your personal health. It’s the health of the entire community,” said Dr. Bonnie J. Sorensen, director of the Department of Health in Volusia County. “From protecting public swimming pools or drinking water to providing immunizations, we can find examples of public health everywhere in our community.”
Focus on body fat
Obesity is a concern nationwide. More than one-third of adults, or 35.7 percent, are obese. The “Public Health is Everywhere” exhibit addresses the concern by featuring the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program Manager Lisa Funchess holding a five-pound log of body fat.
“This is an example of the body fat in the human body. This thick, sticky, log of fat is just a replica, but we use this to raise awareness of why it is important to eat healthy and nutritious meals and to stay in shape with regular physical activity to avoid obesity related conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”
Health workers highlighted
Public health, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection and control of infectious diseases.
The photographs feature public health employees at work in the field protecting the health of residents and visitors of Volusia County.
The 20×30-inch, high-definition color images include a school cafeteria inspection, a public swimming pool inspection, a nurse giving a flu vaccine, an example of proper hand washing, the dangers of tobacco, private drinking water well sampling, and an inspection of a local water treatment plant.
Seen by thousands
Public information interns with the Florida Health Department in Volusia County designed the walk-through photo exhibit as a joint project. It was on display at the Volusia County Fair in DeLand where thousands of visitors walked through the exhibit.
“Our interns have done a remarkable job showcasing public health in Volusia County,” said Stefany Strong, public information officer of the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County. “We hope that this photo exhibit gives our residents a better understanding and appreciation of public health.”
Creary has traveled internationally to Morocco, Spain, and France working with a diverse list of clients. The “Public Health is Everywhere” exhibit was his first photo exhibit.
“This project raised my awareness of the many examples of public health in our community, and I am sure it will do the same for local residents,” Creary remarked.
Spotlight on food safety
One of the exhibit photos features Environmental Specialist Suzanne Grubbs inspecting a school cafeteria for food safety.
“Elementary schools are inspected quarterly and middle and high school cafeterias are inspected every four months,” said Grubbs. “The photo exhibit puts the spotlight on the role of public health in our community and it is always important to educate people about public health.”
Florida Department of Health interns Briana Thompson, Shauntyra Sweeting of Bethune-Cookman University and Tyler Browning of Stetson University provided public relations support for the project.
To request the photo exhibit for local events, call 386-274-0838. Briana Thompson is a Bethune-Cookman University graduate and intern for the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County.