For just over a century, people with health needs have been coming to the Guilford County Health Department.

It was the first county health department in North Carolina and the second in the United States.  While some things have remained the same since 1911, now, in late 2022, the department is taking vaccines, exams, clinics, education events and other services out into the public thanks to three mobile medical units designed to serve residents in their communities.

The three mobile units are now staffed by existing Health Department employees whenever they venture out. However, based on the discussion at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting last week, it now looks a lot like the county will fund the cost of extra dedicated health staff for the new mobile effort.

Guilford County District 7 Commissioner Frankie Jones brought up the subject at the board’s Thursday, Oct 6 meeting.

“It’s amazing work that’s being done,” Jones said of the department’s new mobile service initiative at the commissioner’s meeting.

The discussion occurred during a report from Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann.

Jones wanted to make sure the county was getting the word out to residents that the services were available – and he wanted to know that the department was letting residents know whenever the mobile units would be in their area.

For the sake of those watching the televised meeting, Jones asked Vann the best way for people to stay informed of upcoming events.

“We hope to get that message out to the public as much as possible, but is definitely the best way to get information,” Vann said of the service.

She said the Health Department also posts notices on Facebook and other social media sites whenever a mobile unit will be visiting a community.

“We partner with churches and other partners and they get the word out on their end as well,” Vann added.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston asked Vann if the department had staff that work in the mobile units full time.

“That would be fantastic,” Vann told the chairman and the other board members.  “That would definitely be a goal for us to have a team strictly dedicated to those mobile units.  Right now, we do not have a team that is only responsible to go out and provide those types of mobile services.  I would love to get to that point.”

Alston said the county paid a lot of money for the three mobile units and they should have full-time staff to operate them so they can be out in the public more often.

Alston asked Vann to bring the Board of Commissioners budget numbers as to how much that will cost.