HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – The Huntington County Health Department announced on Facebook that the County Commissioners have welcomed Dr. Matt Pflieger as the new Public Health Officer.
Dr. Pflieger previously served on the Huntington County Board of Health and was most recently serving as the Interim Public Health Officer, the department said. He grew up in Huntington County, moved away for training, and practiced in Denver, Colorado for 10 years. His family moved back to Huntington in 2016 and opened a practice with Dr. Janelle Pflieger.
The department said this is Dr. Pflieger’s first foray into public service. He has been involved in public health before and was doing work around how to best deliver healthcare to a community in Denver.
When asked about his goals for the Huntington County Health Department Dr. Pflieger says, “The health department has always had vaccinations as its backbone and I will continue to make it a priority. The story of vaccines, the amount of lives saved, and the effect on life expectancy/morbidity is the biggest win of medicine in the 21st century. In addition, there are two other issues of lead toxicity and clean water that are very important amongst all the things the Department of Health does. There continues to be high lead levels in the blood of kids when screened at 1-year-old. This has to do with housing conditions and can lead to learning/behavioral issues. We need to continue to screen for it and address positive cases. I also want to be a part of continuing to ensure clean drinking water for everyone. Clean water is something we can take for granted but is one of those fundamental rights we want to ensure for everyone.”
The department said Dr. Pflieger has taken on the role as Public Health Officer with a positive attitude and a touch of humor.
“Being Public Health Officer during a pandemic is not a desirable job. Polarization of thought and behaviors has made giving advice and strategy very difficult. To some people, you are never doing enough and to others you are doing too much. So, like my marriage, I am always wrong,” Dr. Pflieger said.
When asked what to list a few things that Huntington County residents can do to increase their overall health, Dr. Pflieger suggested:
- Stop smoking
- Put down the phone and talk to each other (loneliness, isolation, and social media do not make a healthy community)
- Get outside! Sunshine and exercise are essential.
“My desire is to focus on what Public Health does – it appeals to the community. It understands the strength and health of where we live is better when we are working together rather than against each other. Huntington County citizens have always been about caring for each other and loving those around us. Let’s keep doing that!” Dr. Pflieger said.