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December 5--  The Toombs County Health Department is seeking national accreditation to improve the quality of care offered to the public.

{mosimage}The first step is a community health assessment which started Wednesday at a meeting conducted by Dr. Rose Marie Parks from the Southeast Health District headquartered in Waycross.

"It's basically having a set of standards that you can show you've met and achieved.  It's a mark of distinction very similar to what hospitals do when they are accredited," she said.

Dr. Parks briefed members of the Toombs County Board of Health and others on various public health issues facing the area ranging from obesity to teenage pregnancies.

She's hopeful community input will help determine issues to be addressed.

"This is just kind of the starting point for all of this.  Community involvement is the number one thing and the community needs to decide these are the things we want to work on.

"I think one of the strengths we have in this area is community collaboration and how everyone works together," she said.

The next assessment meeting is set for March of next year.