Our environment at work, at school, and in our neighborhoods largely determine the availability of healthier, affordable foods, the integrity of our homes, the availability of safe, clean recreational venues, and access to high quality learning, entertainment and social support opportunities. In fact, where we live can dramatically influence our chance of living a longer, healthier life, by as much as ten or more years.                                                                   
Everyone should have the opportunity to be as healthy as he or she can be and our community should be safe from threats to health. This should include everyone having a high level of services that protect and support their health. Public Health delivers real value as a cost-effective way to keep people healthy and improve the quality of life.  Everyone wins when we prevent disease rather than treat people after they get ill.  Health care costs go down, neighborhoods are healthier, more economic opportunities develop and most importantly, people live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Public health services matter:

  • Where you live shouldn’t determine how healthy you are. Local public health departments serve as a unique an essential component of an integrated health system that looks out for the population as a whole, rather than focus on the health outcomes of individuals alone.
  • Public health departments identify community health problems and effective strategies for improving them.
  • Public health departments bring together partners to address community health priorities.
  • Public health is essential in protecting our community from threats to environmental quality, to bioterrorism, and to infectious disease outbreaks.

WCHD Public Information Officer, Sue Fuller, emphasizes that supporting public health approaches to better health does reap life-saving returns. For example, research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested. Public Health encourages a call to action about the value of prevention to our lives, pocketbooks and futures.  The following table is an estimate of the Return on Investment (ROI) for this community from selected preventive services provided by WCHD.

Estimated Winnebago County Return on Investment (ROI) from
Selected Primary Prevention Interventions


Savings/$1 Investment

Estimated Return on Investment for Winnebago County *

Prenatal / Maternity Wellness (i.e. Prenatal Education and Case Management)



Women's Health



WIC Nutrition



STD Control / HIV Counseling and Testing



MMR Vaccine



Influenza Vaccine



Community-based Prevention (physical activity, improved nutrition, tobacco use/exposure)



                                           Total Return on Investment



* Avoided health care cost based on local public health expenditures on these interventions for FY'12.

Prevention must become a higher priority in order to effectively contain costs and improve health.  Being healthier, means fewer trips to the doctor’s office, fewer tests, fewer prescription drugs, fewer sick days, fewer emergency room visits, fewer hospital admissions, and lower risk for a wide range of diseases.

In honor of Public Health Month, the Winnebago County Health Department is offering the community free or reduced-cost health screenings.  Join us as we work together to empower this community with the tools, knowledge and resources to make a difference in our community’s health and to take charge of our own health.

Wellness events in April offered by the Winnebago County Health Department

  • Walk-in Cholesterol Screening ($25.00 - regularly $40) on April 4, 2013 from 7:30 am – 12:00 Noon at the Winnebago County Health Department, 555 North Court Street, Rockford, Illinois  61103 (Room 221). More information @www.wchd.org, or by calling
  • Free Car Seat Safety Checks on April 4, 2013 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Winnebago County Health Department (parking lot), 555 North Court Street, Rockford, Illinois 61103. More information @ www.wchd.org, or by calling 815-720-4388.
  • Two Seven Week Smoking Cessation Classes ($35 registration fee) offered by the Winnebago County Health Department. Classes start on either Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from 5:30 -7:00 pm, at Crusader Clinic located at 1100 Broadway, or on Thursday April 25, 2013 from 4-5:30 pm, at Crusader Clinic located at 1200 West State Street. For more information on these two sessions go to www.wchd.org, or call 815-720-4269.
  • The Winnebago County Health Department “We Choose Health” Walking School Bus Initiative on Monday, April 22, 2013 for the students at Lewis Lemon School, 1993 Mulberry Street, Rockford, Illinois 61101 from 7:15 – 7:45 am.  More information @ www.wchd.org, or by calling 815-720-4190.
  • The Winnebago County Health Department “We Choose Health" Worksite Wellness Initiative will be holding free Health Screening for Rockford Public Schools 205 staff from Tuesday, April 2, 2013 to Thursday, April 11, 2013. Screenings will be held at the 4 district High Schools, Administration building and Transportation campus.  More information @www.wchd.org, or by calling 815-720-4190.

 Wellness events in April the Winnebago County Health is involved with: 

  • WCHD’s Childhood Lead Prevention Program Booth
    Week of the Young Child / Early Childhood Family Fun Fair on Saturday, April 13, 2013 
    10:00 am – 2:00 pm
    Heartland Community Church, 1280 South Alpine Road, Rockford, Illinois 61108 
    More information @ http://www.facebook.com/WOYCRockford#!/events/343214369131048/

For more information on the programs, services, and classes that the Winnebago County Health Department provides, go to the website at www.wchd.org; or call the Department at 815-720-4000.