The Naugatuck Valley Health District (NVHD) was founded as a collaborative effort to provide cost-effective official public health functions to the towns of Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, and Shelton. It began operation on July 1, 1972, culminating literally years of efforts by individuals and agencies to establish a full-time health department in the Lower Naugatuck Valley. The salmonella outbreak of 1953 at a health care facility, the disastrous flood of 1955, and the survey of health needs in the region conducted by Dr. Ira Hiscock of Yale University at the request of Valley mayors and selectmen, all pointed to the need for a District Health Department.
It was not until 1970, that A Proposal for the Establishment of a District Public Health Department was drafted and submitted to the Valley Council of Governments. By January 1972, the cities of Ansonia, Derby, Shelton, and the town of Seymour had voted to join together to form a District Health Department. Susan Addiss, MPH, became the first Director of the Lower Naugatuck Valley District Public Health Department.
The town of Beacon Falls joined in 1980, and when the borough of Naugatuck joined in 1985, the name was changed to the Naugatuck Valley Health District. Throughout the years, NVHD has made its home in Shelton, Ansonia and Derby. Today, the offices of the health district are centrally located in the town of Seymour.
_ “…insects and rodents and various kinds of communicable diseases don’t recognize whether they’re in Shelton or Derby or Ansonia (or Seymour)…, these days.”_
Dr. Ira Hiscock, WADS: The Valley Health Story, II, June, 1957.
“…there appears to be ample evidence that a Valley Public Health Department, staffed by trained personnel with full-time responsibilities, and organized according to the best modern public health techniques, could do much to develop and maintain improved standards for healthful living in these communities.”
“A Proposal for the Establishment of a District Public Health Department, 1970. The opening of the new district headquarters “shows a commitment and dedication to public health, which I feel heartening.”
Norma Gyle, RN, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner, CT Department of Public Health, March 2005.
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