Summit County Public Health

Ohio 10-year map of infant mortality
Ohio Department of Health

Summit County is expanding its programs that prevent infant mortality with a nearly $2.5 million state grant. Summit County Public Health is working with 10 other organizations to provide support for new and expecting mothers.

Full Term First Birthday Greater Akron was started by Mayor Dan Horrigan two years ago to assist mothers by providing support groups, counseling, and economic and legal aid. The grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid will also expand aid for housing.

a map of Hepatitis A cases

In a typical year there are fewer than a dozen Hepatitis A cases in Summit County. So far this year there have been 143. The outbreak has been linked to high-risk populations, including the homeless and street drug users. The liver virus is transmitted by fecal matter or close person-to-person contact. But incidents have also been reported among the general population.

Tracy Rodriguez is the communicable diseases supervisor for Summit County Public Health.

Springfield Lake

The village of Lakemore issued an advisory about harmful algal blooms on Springfield Lake.

Recent heavy rain caused more ground water runoff into the lake, which adds nutrients to the water and encourages algae growth. The algae produce toxins.

Summit County’s director of environmental health, Tonia Burford, says people should avoid contact with the water and be sure not to swallow it because that can lead to health problems.

Jennifer Conn / WKSU

The city of Akron and several local agencies have joined forces to use a multifaceted approach to curb youth violence.

The Youth Violence Prevention Strategic Plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in violent crime among young adults 15-24 in Akron by 2023.

The plan was created through research, data collection and community conversations over the past two years. It can be amended as needed going forward, said Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.


Health agencies are warning Northeast Ohioans of an increase in poisonous mushrooms growing in the area. The humid summer caused mushrooms of all kinds to bloom in large numbers, and the Cleveland Clinic says eating toxic ones can cause serious health problems.


Here are your morning headlines for Monday, July 16:

  • Summit County unveils Fentanyl testing strips;
  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh donated to Richard Cordray;
  • Ohio approves legislation to honor Charles Follis;
  • Ohio State University president Michael Drake in top 10 highest paid among university presidents;
  • Akron kicks off Soap Box Derby;
  • Cleveland Cavaliers to re-sign Channing Frye;

Summit County unveils Fentanyl testing strips

Ohio County Health rankings. / County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

Summit County has climbed four spots in an annual health assessment of Ohio counties. The assessment is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. It takes into account factors such as quality of life, behavior, healthcare and economics.

The county improved from 50th to 46th.

Akron Has its First Health Equity Ambassador

Apr 24, 2017

The City of Akron has appointed its first Health Equity Ambassador to help decrease racial and ethnic health disparities.  Mayor Dan Horrigan has appointed Tamiyka Rose to the position. The mayor’s chief of staff, James Hardy says Rose will first focus on lowering the high infant mortality rate in the city’s African-American community.  Hardy says her job will be coordinating the many existing programs now working on the issue.

photo of Cleveland Health Department

City and county health department mergers are a growing trend across Ohio according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The group says for more than 70 percent of Ohio cities, those health services are being provided at the county level. Where do Northeast Ohio’s biggest cities stand?

Donna Skoda

Update: Information on the suspected role of fentanyl has been added to this story.

There is increasing concern in Akron over a possible new twist in the rising tide of opioid abuse after the city dealt with 17 overdose cases in 24 hours -- including one fatality. 

Officials say a mother, a daughter and perhaps another family member were doing drugs together when they became part of the Akron overdose outbreak. And reports of other drug overdoses involving families have surfaced this year throughout the region.

Baldwin Wallace University and The MetroHealth System are waiting for state approval of a new public -health degree collaboration. They have developed a masters program to train people to help close health disparities in low-income communities.


Influenza is peaking later than normal this year, with a surge of cases across Northeast Ohio in the past couple of weeks.

But WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports, if you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, don’t bother.

Summit County Medical Director Dr. Marguerite Erme says the health department has seen a later than normal increase in influenza activity, but she’s not too worried.

“While it’s unusual, if you look at the trends, I don’t think it’s too alarming,” says Erme.

Photo of Donna Skoda

Summit County Public Health and the International Community Health Center are partnering with Akron’s North High School to open a school-based health care clinic.

The school is in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, which is home to a growing number of refugees. Many of the people in that area don’t have access to routine health services, such as check-ups.