MERIDEN — The Health Department is using state grants to add two new positions, one aimed at promoting public health education and the other to enhance youth programs.
The department will use $55,137 in grants from the Department of Children and Families to hire a part-time, non-union “youth and family program assistant,” to assess needs and develop youth programs, said Health Director Lea Crown.
The department is also creating a “public health educator” position using a $63,642 grant from the Department of Public Health. The position will promote prevention efforts, as well as aid the department’s public health accreditation efforts.
The City Council voted this week to approve the positions. Both are tied to the grant funding and will be eliminated when the grants end, according to City Councilor Larue Graham, chairman of the council’s Human Services Committee. The DCF grant is expected to fund the program coordinator position through June 2021, while the DPH grant will fund the health educator position through June 2020.
Crown previously held the position of public health educator, from 2006 to 2012, when she was promoted to associate health director and later director. Crown said the city has not filled the position since she left it in 2012, forcing her to handle the responsibilities. Crown said she has also assumed the responsibilities of the program coordinator position.
“Having these extra sets of hands is going to really benefit my bandwidth,” Crown said.
Crown anticipates both positions will be filled externally. The city will soon post the position, Crown said, adding she’d like to have them filled by the end of next month.