Galveston County health District Logo
Galveston County Health District - Providing Credible Service since 1971


9850-A Emmett F. Lowry Expy, Suite A108, Texas City Texas 77591 - Phone - 409-938-7221

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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 939
La Marque, TX 77568
The Executive
Phone: 409-938-2401
The Executive Report is a monthly summary of key activities and significant happenings in the Health District overall.  This summary of activities and/or happenings may involve: one of many different public health programs, the Galveston Area Ambulance Authority (GAAA), the 4C's federally-funded community health clinics (CHC's), and/or collaborate efforts among community health partners. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact: Pisa Lewis , Executive Assistant,
at 409 938-2401, by; or Kurt Koopmann, Public Information Officer,
at 409-938-2211, by

May 26, 2004

red diamond pic Pertussis (whooping cough)
red diamond pic Health care for indigent population in southern Brazoria & Matagorda Counties
red diamond pic County Indigent Health Care Program (CIHCP)
red diamond pic Animal Services Manager
red diamond pic Other News Releases and Press Stories
red diamond pic 4C’s Clinic Updates
  Pediatric Open Access
  County Indigent Health Care Program
  New Physician
  4C's Medical Provider and Supervisor's Retreat
  Dental Clinic
red diamond pic Office of Environmental Health Services Updates
  Air Inspector’s Workshop
  Earth Day Activities
  Pool School
  Public Nuisance Abatement
red diamond pic Office of Community Health Programs Updates
  Outcome of National Infant Immunization Week
  Senior Nutrition/Cooking Schools
red diamond pic Office of Emergency Medical Services
  Major Accident involving a Bus
red diamond pic Operational Updates
  Galveston County Medical Response Collaborative
  SNS planning meeting
  Kiwanis meeting
  Mary desVignes-Kendrick, MD, MPH offered SPH resources
 Pertussis (whooping cough)
  On April 28, 2004, the most recent case of Pertussis (whooping cough) was reported to the Health District. A League City infant had numerous close contacts that received recommended preventive therapy through the 4Cs Clinic. Six pertussis cases were reported to the Health District during February, March, and April. Only two were reported in all of 2003. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a vaccine-preventable infection that is often severe when acquired by unimmunized or incompletely-immunized infants. Pertussis occurs in all age groups. Adolescents and adults generally have moderate symptoms but can pass the infection to infants. The new method of testing recommended by Texas Department of Health is PCR (polymerase chain reaction), and it seems more sensitive than older methods including culture and DFA. Health care providers should consider pertussis for patients with cough illnesses lasting over two weeks for which there is not a better diagnosis, and request PCR testing on nasopharyngeal specimens. For more information, please contact Chuck Chambers, Epidemiologist, at 409-938-2399

or email


 Health care for the indigent population in southern Brazoria and Matagorda Counties  
  On May 5, 2004 Dr. Guidry, Jay Holland and Brian Maxwell, 4C’s Governing Board met with Father Mike Gemgnani, Executive Director of the Brazosport Medical Center (BMC), Joe Gardzina, Brazoria County United Way, several BMC staff, City Manager of Freeport, 2 Brazoria County Commissioners and several other individuals interested in health care for the indigent population in southern Brazoria and Matagorda Counties. They were interested in affiliating with Galveston 4C’s in order to become an FQHC. During the meeting we determined that now would not be a good time to pursue this venture because of a pending FQHC federal grant application. However, we did leave open the option of a future affiliation should the grant not be approved. For additional information please contact W. Jay Holland, III, Chief Operating Officer, 409-938-2401 or by email at
 County Indigent Health Care Program (CIHCP)
  On May 19, 2004, Dr. Guidry and several staff met with Judge Jim Yarbrough, Commissioner Holmes, Curtis Brown and representatives of HAS to review the status of the County Indigent Health Care Program (CIHCP). HAS reviewed the capabilities of its tracking and claims payment system including such items as claims dollars incurred/paid in the current year, number of claims transactions, number and type of denials, patients seen and number of visits by month, billed charges by provider, claims paid by provider, etc. Also discussed by Health District staff was the budget shortfall from FY 03 and projected deficit for FY 04. This meeting was designed to bring Judge Yarbrough up to speed prior to a workshop on CIHCP with Commissioners Court on June 7, 2004. For additional information please contact W. Jay Holland, III, Chief Operating Officer, 409-938-2401 or by email at
Animal Services Manager
  Michele Reynolds joined the Health District's Animal Services department as the Manager on Friday, May 14, 2004. Michele has several years of animal service, management, and human resource experience. Michele will be working out of the Texas City Animal Shelter. For more information, contact Ronnie Schultz, Air and Water Pollution Services, at 409.938.2314 or by email at


News Releases and Press Stories For more information on any news release or press story, please contact Kurt Koopmann, Public Information Officer, at 409.938.2211 or email
red diamond pic On April 27, 2004 the District issued the first West Nile Virus press release of the season. The release outlined the “4 D’s” that citizens can follow to reduce the chance of becoming infected. These include: dusk to dawn, dress, DEET, and draining of standing water. The press release can be read at (
red diamond pic On Thursday April, 29, 2004 the District submitted a clarification on immunization rates to three area media outlets; the Galveston Daily News, the Texas City Sun, and the Houston Chronicle. All three had printed quotes in articles promoting the Galveston island immunization drive that District officials felt incorrectly represented the number of children adequately immunized. Each had quoted sources stating the District estimates that 60% of children in Galveston have not been immunized. The correction submitted clarified the information with the District’s most recent assessment showing that in actuality 40%, a much lower number, of children are inadequately immunized in Galveston County.
red diamond pic On May 6, 2004, the Houston Chronicle reported “Mexico authorities say immunization rates make Americans a health risk to Mexicans”, then on May 14, 2004, TDH issued a Health Alert Network Measles Advisory about a measles outbreak in Mexico and advised American travelers to Mexico to be fully vaccinated (


4C’s Clinic Updates
red diamond pic

Pediatric Open Access - The 4C's Texas City site began a pilot project offering Open Access for Pediatric patients on Monday May 3, 2004. In the pilot pediatric patients are encouraged to come in to the clinic and are seen on a walk-in basis. Initial results are encouraging, Dr. Dharani, our Pediatrician is very happy with the process and patients have been positive in their comments to clinic staff. For more information contact Mike Carr, 4C's Clinic Business Manager at 409. 949.3406 or

red diamond pic County Indigent Health Care Program - GCHD staff visited the indigent health care program in Liberty County to review their implementation of the state mandated program. Dr. Guidry, CEO; Dr. Alhassan, 4C's Medical Director; Mike Carr, 4C's Business Manager; and Wendy Jones, 4C's Registration Supervisor made the review. Lessons learned in Liberty County can be applied to the Galveston County program to make it more efficient and effective. For more information contact Mike Carr, 4C's Clinic Business Manager at 409. 949.3406 or
red diamond pic New Physician - The 4C's clinic Medical Staff is at full force following the addition of Titus Venyah, MD as a physician provider. Dr. Venyah is currently orienting to operations in the clinic sites and is seeing patients on a walk-in basis. For more information contact Abdul-Aziz Alhassan, MD at 409. 949.3406 or
red diamond pic 4C's Medical Provider and Supervisor's Retreat - 4C's provider staff and 4C's department supervisors attended a retreat on May 5, 2004. The retreat, held at the City of La Marque, Community Room, was a great success. Participants teamed up to discuss challenges and opportunities for the Clinic. The ideas developed in the brainstorming sessions are being distilled to use as a basis for meeting the goals in the District Strategic Health Plan. For more information contact Mike Carr, 4C's Clinic Business Manager at 409. 949.3406 or
red diamond pic Dental Clinic - The dental receptionist positions have been filled and will start on June 7th, in the Texas City clinic and on June 21st in the Galveston clinic. The dental assistant position closed on May 13, 2004. We will be interviewing to fill this position immediately. Our contract dentist to help out the Texas City clinic on Fridays only will start on June 4th. Appointments and scheduling will show improvement with these new additions. For more information, please contact Beverly Foster, DDS, Dental Director, at 409.949.3445 or email


 Office of Environmental Health Services Updates  
red diamond pic Air Inspector’s Workshop - The 7th Annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State and Local Air Inspector's Workshop was held on April 27-29 in San Antonio. This was the only EPA workshop of its kind in the nation. This year for the first time in the workshop's history, a person from a Texas local air pollution control program was asked to sit on the planning committee. Air & Water Pollution Services Division staff member, Ms. Diana Stevens, was honored to be a member of this planning committee. The Galveston County Health District was also honored to announce that Ms. Carrie Thomas of the Air and Water Pollution Services Division was invited and lectured to a crowd of 80 air pollution investigators on “How to Conduct a Comprehensive Air Compliance Inspection at an Industrial Facility”. This one-hour lecture covered topics such as inspection techniques, rule interpretation, data gathering, and proper documentation. Attendees at the lecture were from EPA Region 6 that includes Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. We are very proud of Ms. Thomas and excited about the recognition that our Air & Water Pollution Services Division received. For more information, contact Diane Stevens, Air and Water Pollution Control Services, at 409.938.2313 or by email
red diamond pic Earth Day Activities – The Air and Water Pollution Services staff demonstrated the effects of water pollution on the environment for students attending Parker Elementary School in Galveston as part of that school’s earth day celebration. This annual event was an opportunity for staff to teach hundreds of school aged children how they effect the quality of water in their community. For more information, contact Ronnie Schultz, Air and Water Pollution Services, at 409.938.2314 or by email
red diamond pic Pool School – The swimming pool sanitation program at the Health District is designed to protect the health and safety of the general public who swim in public pools. The program includes the inspecting and permitting of all these public and also semi-public pools. All operators of public pools must attend and pass a test to become a certified pool operator. This certification is required under the county “Rules on Swimming Pool Sanitation” and applicable Texas Department of Health rules. The Consumer Health Services Division sponsors several “pool schools” where local pool operators are taught how to safely operate a pool. The division has certified over 135 pool operators this spring alone. For more information, contact Marty Entringer, Consumer Health Services, at 409.938.2458 or by email
red diamond pic Public Nuisance Abatement – Nine (9) structures identified as a public nuisance under the Health District’s Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement program will be demolished and hauled away. The identified structures were properly noticed and have gone through the administrative process in accordance with Neighborhood Nuisance Abatement Act codified under the Health and Safety Code. Many structures around Galveston County have been demolished since1996 reducing the risk to the general public. The nine (9) structures destined for demolition are located on Bolivar Peninsula and in the Bacliff/San Leon areas. For more information, contact Garret Foskit, Nuisance Abatement Officer, at 409.938.2411 or by email
Office of Community Health Programs Updates
red diamond pic Outcome of National Infant Immunization Week - GCHD celebrated NIIW (April 26- May 1, 2004) by offering free immunizations at a variety of sites throughout the county. During the week, 281 children were given a total of 786 immunizations. Volunteers from Mainland Medical Center, Coastal Area Health Education Center, other GCHD departments, and the community helped to entertain children by dressing as clowns and the Tooth Fairy, face painting, and giving children stickers, coloring books, and toothbrushes. For more information, contact Susan Studebaker, Director, Community Health Programs, at 409.938.2457or by email
red diamond pic Senior Nutrition/Cooking Schools began on May 5 at Carbide Park. Twelve (12) people attended the first class. Future schools are scheduled for Galveston, Bacliff, and Dickinson, and Bolivar Penninsula; over fifty (50) people have pre-registered for these classes. These schools involve nutrition education, "hand's on" cooking, as well as foods for seniors to take home with them. These events are co-sponsored by Jesse Tree and the Houston Food Bank. For more information, please contact Charles Kelly, Senior Health Coordinator at 409.938.2293 or by email
Office of Emergency Medical Services
red diamond pic On May 12, 2004, at 2:16 p.m. Galveston EMS was dispatched to a “Major Accident involving a Bus” at the parking lot of 1 Hope Blvd in Galveston. Upon arrival staff found one of three full-size charter buses had struck a light pole with a concrete base at approximately 10 mph. School employees from Allen Elementary of Houston ISD immediately reported that there were 56 students on board the bus and requested that all the children should be seen at an Emergency Department. School officials had kept all children in their seats on the bus. GAAA activated its mass casualty plan. Incident Command was established including GAAA, Galveston Fire Department, Moody Gardens, Galveston Police Department, and GoldStar EMS. 54 patients were classified as minimal (green) by the triage system and 2 patients were classified as delayed (yellow). All other Island EMS calls were handled in a manner without delay. UTMB “external disaster plan” efficiently off loaded ambulances and put them back to service in an average of five minutes. The actions of all involved presented a coordinated and efficient effort to mitigate the MCI. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkel, Chief of Operations, at (409) 621-3141or by email
Operational Updates
red diamond pic On May 13, 2004 the Galveston County Medical Response Collaborative met to discuss preparedness issues facing hospitals, public health, emergency management, and law enforcement. Jim Billman, with Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, presented information on hurricane preparedness and the incident command system in the county. Participants decided who would be the contact persons for each entity represented for receipt of supplies and medications in the event the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is needed here. The group also discussed the emergency and medical response to the recent bus accident involving 56 children.
red diamond pic On May 14th, Carmen Castro, SNS Coordinator, attended a SNS planning meeting in Austin at the Texas Department of Health. In the meeting participants decided on the minimum amount of information needed from patients in a mass vaccination or medication dispensing clinic. They decided also to allow family members to pick up medications for up to 5 other family members. Also in May, the Health District signed an agreement with Clear Creek ISD to be able to use their school facilities as mass vaccination or dispensing clinics in the event of a public health emergency. For more information, contact Brian Rutherford, Public Health Planner, at 409. 938.2275 or by email
red diamond pic On May 24, 2004, Dr. Guidry was the guest speaker at the Kiwanis meeting held at Kelley’s restaurant. Dr. Guidry provided an overview of the Health District’s services and the priorities of the Strategic Health Plan. Feedback and support was received for the improvement of animal services in the county. For more information, contact Harlan “Mark” Guidry, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Executive Officer, at 409-938-2401 or email
red diamond pic On May 19th, Dr. Guidry and Jay Holland met with former City of Houston Health Director, Mary desVignes-Kendrick, MD, MPH, Professor-Management, Policy and Community Health & Deputy Director-Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness at the UT Health Science Center’s School of Public Health in Houston. Dr. Kendrick has offered SPH resources to assist the Galveston County wide system of response in planning, training, exercising and evaluating its WMD and bioterrorism response abilities. In addition, Dr. Kendrick has agreed to serve as a keynote speaker for a planned Diseases and Disaster’s Conference in September. For more information, contact Harlan “Mark” Guidry, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Executive Officer, at 409-938-2401 or email