Department of Public Health
The Health Department mission is to protect, promote, and preserve the health of the citizens and communities of Stanly County.
Building a legacy of healthy people, families, and communities together.
Public Health in Action is a community media outreach effort by Stanly County Health Department and Stanly Community College to inform the public about public health services and topics. These programs can be accessed here.
The Stanly County Health Department’s mission is to protect, promote, and preserve the health of the citizens and communities of Stanly County. This is a mission that officially began in 1937 and is still continuing today.
The Stanly County Health Department became fully operational July 1937. Dr. W. Nash McKenzie served as the first health officer (health director). Along with Dr. McKenzie, four others were hired to staff the health department. They were: nurses – Miss Frances Barnett & Miss Jenice Ross, sanitary officer – Mr. Dwight Stokes, and office assistant – Miss Margaret Cochran.
The essential services of the Stanly County Health Department in 1937 were:
“1. School health supervision, including physical examination of school children for defects;
2. Immunization service will be offered….for the control of smallpox, diphtheria, and typhoid fever;
3. The perfection of an organization for the correction of physical defects, such physical defects to be corrected by competent
physicians of the county;
4. ….conduct an organized program to reduce maternal and infant deaths;
5. An adequate venereal disease and tuberculosis program will be carried out,
with the cooperation of the local medical profession;
6. ….will conduct an educational and supervisory program which will go far
toward correcting environmental sanitation, with particular emphasis on safe
excreta disposal, malaria control, providing a pure and wholesome water
supply, a pure milk supply, and pure food within the county;
7. ….will conduct epidemiological investigations and institute
adequate, intelligent, and effective measures for the prevention of
8. The public health nurses will visit homes of school children who are absent
because of communicable diseases and in whom physical defects may be
found, and take such steps as may be necessary to prevent the spread of
disease, and encourage the correction of the physical defect. The nurses will
also visit the homes in the interest of expectant mothers in prenatal care,
encouraging physical examinations, and securing the services of regular
licensed physicians for the period of confinement;
9. ….will supervise midwives, instructing them in elementary hygiene, and enjoin
them from engaging in such practices they are not qualified, and which, in turn,
are dangerous procedures, often resulting in the death of the mother or infant;
10. The personnel of the health department, including the county health officer, shall
devote their entire time to their official duties, and they shall conform to the
state board of health’s policies set forth in the contract agreement with
reference to honesty, sobriety, and moral conduct;…..”
The Stanly News and Press, August 6, 1937
The first quarterly health report by Dr. McKenzie included the following information:
The Stanly News and Press, October 31, 1937
Throughout the early years, the headlines of The Stanly News and Press included measles, infantile paralysis (polio), tuberculosis, typhoid fever, influenza, diphtheria, rabies, syphilis, well babies care, privies, sanitary food establishments, and trashy lots. Churches closed to prevent the spread of infantile paralysis and schools closed to prevent the spread of influenza.
Today, the Stanly County Health Department staff is still striving to protect the health of the citizens of Stanly County. While some of these past health issues no longer present a danger to the public, others are still being addressed. New public health issues have emerged through the years; such as West Nile virus, HIV infection/AIDS, water pollution, bioterrorism, and chlamydia. The Stanly County Health Department staff continues to prepare to respond to current and new public health threats. The Stanly County Health Department’s goal is to create a healthy community, so all our citizens can maximize their potential.
Partial Listing of
Stanly County Health Department
Health Officers/Health Directors
Partial timeline of important events at the
Stanly County Health Department