December 9 2019

PSA: The Work of a Public Health Nurse is for the Community

The following is a Public Service Announcement by Burlington Supervising Nurse Christine Paulik, RN: 

There are many challenges that can influence the overall health of a community. Environmental toxins, accidents, injuries, communicable infectious diseases, and vaccine preventable diseases could all potentially become a public health crisis. The Board of Health Public Health Nurse implements health and educational programs, health screenings, and case management for disease surveillance and prevention to promote wellness and prevent illness. 

One responsibility of the Public Health Nurse is to provide educational programs and health screenings to community groups, town employees, schools and other public organizations.  The goal of educational programs is to make health information easier to understand so people can be better advocates for their health. Various presentations and classes regarding current health topics and concerns are offered free to the public. The Community Emergency Preparedness presentation helps to guide residents in preparing themselves and their families for potential emergency events. "Stop the Bleed" and "Until Help Arrives" training provides bleeding control techniques and the skills needed to assist a person that is severely bleeding and in a life-threatening situation. A variety of health information is also provided at the town's Annual Health Fair, scheduled for March 28, 2020 at the Burlington High School. 

A recent program offered through the Board of Health is the "Matter of Balance" program. In collaboration with Lahey Hospital, this eight week course is designed to reduce participant's risk of falling. It is open to all age groups and is held in the Fall and Spring. If you or someone you know has a fear of falling or wants to learn concepts to help reduce the risk of falling, then this class would be very beneficial.

Another way the Public Health Nurse promotes wellness and prevents illness is by providing health screenings and vaccinations. In partnership with the BVRC, monthly blood pressure screenings are performed at the Burlington Public Library and at the Council on Aging. The Nurse also provides tuberculosis (TB) skin tests free to Burlington residents by appointment.  The Burlington Board of Health is enrolled as a provider in the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) Vaccine for Children Program. CDC recommended childhood vaccinations are provided at no cost to children less than 19 years of age who are uninsured or under insured. 

Town officials also need to be prepared in a public health emergency, such as a flu pandemic. The Board of Health maintains and exercises an Emergency Dispensing Site (EDS) Plan in collaboration with other town departments and the BVRC. The annual flu clinic, offered in the Fall, serves as an Emergency Preparedness Drill which helps officials exercise the EDS Plan. This is a great opportunity for community members to receive their yearly flu vaccine and, at the same time, help the Board of Health prepare for emergencies. 

For more information on Board of Health programs and events, or if you're interested in improving the public health of our community by becoming a member of the Burlington Volunteer Reserve Corps, please call 781-270-1955 or email




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