Public health focuses on outreach

By: 
Avery Chick, NLJ Intern

Submitted photo

Sarah Gregory and Christia Martens recently joined the Weston County Public Health staff and are excited to continue collaborating with the community.

 

With the easing of coronavirus pandemic concerns, the team at Weston County Public Health can now refocus their efforts on providing the kind of services that meet the everyday needs of residents. The two newest additions to the public health staff, Sarah Gregory and Christia Martens, are playing an integral role in this process. Gregory is now the Weston County Public Health nurse manager, and Martens is the Public Health response coordinator.

Before transferring to Weston County Public Health, Martens worked at the University of Wyoming Extension Office for Weston County for the last four years. The creation of a county-specific response coordinator brought her to public health. Although Gregory has made Newcastle her home for quite some time, she has moved from being the director of Nursing at the Weston County Manor to lending her expertise to the public health office. Both are also continuing their education. Martens will receive a master’s degree next week, and Gregory will receive her Bachelor’s of Nursing degree.

Martens has a bit of a different role when it comes to her job in the office, and in the
community. 

“Weston County has always had a Public Health response coordinator, but for the last few years we’ve had to share one person between Crook and Weston counties. Now, our county will benefit from having a person who focuses exclusively on Weston County Public Health response without having to be at two places at once,” Martens said. 

“It was getting difficult for one person to serve both counties, so the state advised adding another position specifically for Weston County,” Martens said, “I am happy to take on this role, and look forward to working with the community.”

Martens focuses on public health response and emergency planning, as well as collaborations with Gregory, who is a key partner with similar training and co-facilitates working with the state in an administrative role. Martens also focuses on partnering with other community agencies, such as working with the emergency coordinator at Homeland Security and the Hospital Preparedness Coalition. Going forward, a big goal for Martens will also be facilitating community outreach with Gregory and the entire team at Weston County Public Health.

“We never stopped our normal operations or stopped offering programs that we had because of COVID,” Gregory said. “It was more something that we had to add in on top of all of the other duties.” 

That is why, with the help of the entire staff at Weston County Public Health, Gregory and Martens are pushing harder than ever to focus on getting back out in the community. 

“We want to provide collaboration, as well as education to the community, and focus on getting back out there,” Martens said. 

Both talked about refocusing some programs in order to jump-start their venture back into the community.

“To begin the outreach efforts, In terms of newer programs, each program will be very generalized, we want to provide health education to the entire community to meet their needs,” Gregory said.  

Outreach is a main focus at public health, and they are working  to become involved with and collaborate with as many community entities as possible. Eventually, Gregory said, she would like to become a diabetes educator in the
community. 

“It’s just more general right now to kind of act as a stepping stone, starting with the basics, so that later on we can move into more specialized programs,” she said.

Both women said their work environment contributes to the success of Weston County Public Health. 

“There are positive relationships all around the board. We all have our own duties, but we have communication and collaboration, which is great here in the office,” Martens said. 

Both say they inspire each other to keep creating new goals and keep each other accountable when it comes to accomplishing them. 

“We don’t really have a ‘that isn’t my job’ mentality here,” Martens added.

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