Clifton Health Department - It's So Much More than You Might Think.
We in Clifton are lucky to have an amazing ally that benefits us all, the Clifton Health Department. Under a reorganization created by the City Manager in 1996, the Department of Human Services includes the Health Department, Recreation Department, Senior Citizen Department, and Welfare Department. The reorganization was done to streamline services, cut administrative costs, and better serve the needs of a growing city effectively and efficiently. The department serves all residents of both Clifton and the township of Little Falls, the latter as a contractual health agency, and services almost 100,000 residents for a diverse list of programs.
Their mission statement reads, “In partnership with our community, we are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles within a sanitary and safe environment. Our mission is to foster optimal health, dignity, and independence to our residents. We work to prevent disease, promote and protect well-being at all life stages, and encourage informed choices that enrich quality of life for individuals and our community.”
Health-related services are either free of charge or low cost. Nursing and clinical services include screenings for (but not limited to, and sometimes in cooperation with local facilities) diabetes, cholesterol, podiatry, bone density, and certain cancers. Children up to age five can receive well-baby care visits, dental health services, and immunizations. There are regular visits for adult immunizations for flu and pneumonia, as well as for COVID-19.
The department has been proactive in determining city needs via annual Community Health Assessment reviews and Health Improvement Plans. Because our city is so widespread and diverse, and residents’ needs and concerns vary so greatly, the department has been paying special attention to parts of Clifton that are underserviced, such as the Botany area. A satellite office located at 207 Parker Avenue is shared with the Clifton Community Policing Division and it’s hoped that the partnership will overcome such barriers as lack of health insurance, language, transportation, and other issues like addiction, homelessness, and other challenges. Oftentimes, residents cannot travel to the municipal complex on Clifton Avenue to take advantage of the health programs offered, so these services are literally saving the lives of disadvantaged people by bringing the help where it is needed most.
The Health Department has successfully applied for a very prestigious national accreditation that requires extensive reports and documentation. Accreditation gives the department guidance on improving quality of care and streamlining operations and gives access to various tools to stay current and constantly improve the department.
Another huge component of the Health Department is Community Education. The Internet has given many of us access to information that is invaluable, yet often is overwhelming, conflicting, and confusing. The staff is constantly working to disseminate information to the community using fliers, workshops, videos, and programs with an emphasis on safety and prevention. Many of the suggestions are cost-effective, with the understanding and realization gleaned from talking with residents and doing surveys, that people can’t afford to spend a lot of money on supplements, gym memberships, and experimental treatments. A recent program focused on stress reduction via breathing techniques, guided imagery, and simple exercises anyone can do at home.
As they say, but wait, that’s not all! Seniors are increasingly living longer and with that come some of the challenges of growing older – medical as well as social. Senior citizens can take advantage of many programs offered by the Health Department, including health assessments, social events such as the recent barbecue, and courses that address issues of concern to seniors such as safe driving courses, Medicare reviews, non-driver IDs and more.
The Health Department also runs rabies clinics for your pets and is responsible for pet licenses. Please note that 2024 licenses will be available in January 2024.
The Clifton Recreation Department is part of the Health Department and is a resource that literally offers something for everyone, no matter what your interest. Many of the programs they run are done in conjunction with a focus on integrating health with community. For instance, programs that emphasize physical activity on all levels and for all ages, virtual cooking classes, day trips, and community activities such as the upcoming Halloween Parade, costume contest, and Harvest Fest.
Following is a brief list of events in the upcoming few days focusing on health, safety, and well-being; residents are encouraged to sign up online for email alerts in order to be kept up to date on happenings in the city.
Stigma-Free Disabilities Resource Fair. Various organizations such as the Clifton Advisory Committee for Individuals with Disabilities, Turning Point, PRAISE, CASA, and other local resources will have booths with information, giveaways, and more. The Fair will be held in the gym at School 17, 361 Lexington Avenue, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Saturday, October 21st.
Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic, located at DPW Garage, 307 East 7th Street, on Wednesday, November 15th 5:00 – 7:00 PM and Saturday, November 18th, 2:00 - 4:00 PM. Please note this is for dogs only; dogs must be leashed, and licenses for 2023 will be available if necessary. Please bring your ID and call 973-470-5760 with questions.
A wonderful Clifton tradition is the Halloween Parade and Harvest Fest, which features a costume contest, an apple pie-baking contest, and a scarecrow-building contest. The Festivities will take place at the Municipal Complex on Clifton Avenue on Sunday, October 29th from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission is free and there will be rides, games, and food vendors. For information on the contests, please log on to the Recreation Department website or call 973-470-5956.