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Christian County Health Administrator talks rural health care

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson - Christian County Health Adminsitrator

Chad Anderson's career in public health sprouted out of happenstance. After graduating from Illinois State University, Anderson traveled to Africa through the Peace Corps.

“I was a volunteer in the local clinics. There were things that we don’t deal with in the United States. Lots of deaths from malaria and malnutrition…The more I dealt with malaria, the more I became obsessed with it, because it was such a preventable disease. Started looking at ways to talk about malaria to engage and eventually found music.”

Soon after his stint in the Peace Corps, he joined the ranks of public health academics aiming to creatively curb the spread of tropical diseases, specifically malaria.

“My master’s thesis was about the development and evaluation to make a song (in theory) and my PhD was demonstrating that music increased knowledge retention and positively shifted attitudes towards preventative techniques for a disease.”

Currently, you can find Anderson coordinating public health efforts in Taylorville, through the Christian County Health Department.

Although Anderson manages less personnel than large metropolitan health departments, he reports that rural health department administrators face a different set of challenges:

“Some health departments have inspectors solely dedicated to food safety and inspections. In Christian County, the inspectors are responsible for everything. Having to learn everything can
be harder at times.”

Looking forward, Christian County Health Department will work towards improving mental health infrastructure, aligning with the voices of Christian County residents.

“The administrator before me created an I-PLAN, which is something every health department has to create every five years to stay accredited. This I-PLAN contained a needs assessment…building a mental health program in Christian County is where we’re at right now.”

Kyle is a student reporter for NPR Illinois.
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