UCHD, Protecting Your Health.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016 18:44

Zach Colles

Zach Colles highres2

 It was ultimately Zach's interest in animals and zoonotic diseases that brought him to the public health field.


Zach comes to Union County Health Department from the Ohio State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Public Health. It was ultimately his interest in animals and zoonotic diseases that brought him to the public health field. “[A large portion] of emerging diseases are zoonotic in nature which have huge human health implications”.

In his spare time, Zach enjoys staying active by playing a variety of sports including soccer, volleyball and foot golf, which according to Zach is a combination of soccer and golf.

In his time with UCHD, Zach will be taking over for our Epidemiologist Mary while she is on maternity leave as well as assisting with O&M assessments for our Environmental Health Division.

So give our newest Buckeye a big wave when you see him around!


Friday, 08 April 2016 14:22

Jim Cogar

 I have always been drawn to the outdoors.  Being an avid outdoorsman, I understand the value of the environment and the connection my job has to protecting both public health and our natural resources. 
Although my job can be very challenging at times, I very much believe in public service and the role I play within our community.” 



“Well, I need to give a shout out to my hometown.” Jim is a very proud native of Youngstown and Canfield, Ohio where he grew up playing four sports.  After graduating he received a football scholarship to the University of Findlay where he received his degree in Environmental Safety and Occupational Health Management with a minor in Public Administration.  His degree and long-time interest in the outdoors set Jim up nicely to become a state licensed registered sanitarian after graduating from Findlay.  In 2002, Jim began his career with the Delaware General Health District (Ohio) where he specialized in private sewage and water systems.

Jim started with Union County Health Department in 2011 at his current position as the Deputy Director of Environmental Health.  Jim has been a longtime member of the Ohio Environmental Health Association (OEHA) and also serves as a sewage advisory committee member within OEHA. His knowledge of Ohio Sewage Laws has been instrumental in preparing Union County for the new Operation and Maintenance Program.

Outside of work, Jim stays very active with his two children, Kensie and Cru and their family dog, Bria. Jim’s passion for the outdoors and nature shine through with his love of hunting, fishing and golfing.  Jim's work duties often take him to every township in the county, so be sure to give him a big hello wherever you see him.
Friday, 08 April 2016 12:15

Holly Rast

"To love what you do and know that it matters, makes all the difference."


Holly received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Bowling Green State University.  “I sort of fell into being a health inspector by accident”, she said. While at BGSU Holly took a class where she wrote a manual on a database management system for the Wood County Health Department. She was inspired by what she saw and applied to be a health inspector after college. In her years as a Registered Sanitarian, Holly has worked for several health departments where she did inspections on anything from sewage and water to nuisances and food inspections. She has also spent time at the EPA working in the solid and infectious waste department but missed the field and being a health inspector.

The same day Union County was approved to hire another health inspector in 1998, Holly called to see if there were any positions open and she’s been here ever since! Holly has a wealth of knowledge regarding all the Environmental Health programs at UCHD especially the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Program, where she is our resident aerator expert.

In her spare time, Holly enjoys gardening and spending time with her four dogs, Roscoe, Lucy, Gyan, and Freyja! If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting her, you know she’s never met a dog she didn’t love! Her flower garden is often featured on her Facebook ‘Flower of the Day’ posts and her vegetable garden contains all of the ingredients to make homemade salsa!

You’ll see Holly around doing some inspections and O&M assessments this summer and she’ll probably even have a treat for your furry friends!

Wednesday, 06 April 2016 13:44

Paul Ithenya


 "I wanted to find a career that allowed me to use my experience with the Army and be out in the field working with the general public."


Paul is the newest member of the Union County Health Department’s Environmental Health team. Shortly after moving to the United States from Kenya, Paul enlisted in the Army where he earned a Purple Heart for his bravery in the war in Afghanistan.

After serving for more than three years in the Army, he transferred to the Army Reserves to pursue his education at Otterbein University. Paul’s desire to combine his experience in the Army and work hands-on with the general public sparked his interest in public health. A degree in Health Education just made sense.

Paul is a family man. He and his wife Mary live in Westerville and are expecting their first child at the end of the summer.  In his spare time Paul enjoys running, bowling and barbecuing!

Paul will be running point on our O&M assessments this summer. If you happen to see Paul out on the roads, give him a wave!


Wednesday, 06 April 2016 12:24

Adam Schutlz

 "I'm interested in engaging with the public, and I like going where I can make a difference."


Since 2014, Sanitarian Adam Schultz has taken pride working in Union County on behalf of the Union County Health Department

“I’ve always been passionate about helping others,” Schultz said. A graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Schultz knows that the inspections he conducts are meaningful and make a difference in the county. 

He loves being outdoors, playing and watching sports, exercising and playing cards with his friends.

Adam looks forward to meeting the public during the O&M inspections.

Friday, 05 February 2016 16:53

Zika Virus

Currently, there are active cases of Zika virus in Ohio. No cases in Union County.

The content below is provided directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Friday, 10 July 2015 15:40

Prevent Mosquito Bites


The Union County Health Department does limited surveillance of the mosquito population in Unoin County through trapping and testing. Mosquito traps are placed within the county during the summer months. The trapped mosquitoes are sent to the Ohio Department of Health for testing of West Nile Virus. (There is no longer any testing or surveillance of West Nile Virus amongst birds within Ohio.) The species of mosquito known to carry West Nile Virus tends to be found in open grassy areas. Residents who have large open grassy areas can request mosquito trapping by calling (937) 642-2053 or emailing melissa.henry@uchd.net

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a disease carried by mosquitoes than can be passed to humans when the female mosquito bites a human. For more information, read this factsheet about WNV. or visit the Ohio Department of Health's webpage

LaCrosse Encephalitis is a vector-borne disease that is carried by the tree hole mosquito and is also transmitted through the female mosquito's bite.

There are several steps that you can take to prevent bites from mosquitoes.

Personal Protection:

  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear light colors, long sleeves, and long pants when spending time outside in mosquito-infested areas.
  • Use a DEET based repellent when outside where mosquitoes are present (pay attention to usage instructions)
  • When camping or spending time outdoors, consider Permethrin treated bed-nets, tents, or clothing.
  • Avoid perfume, colognes, or other heavy scents that may attract mosquitoes.

Reduce breeding habitat:

  • Anything that holds water longer than 7 days, such as bird baths, baby pools, and buckets, should be changed weekly or stored upside down. Pools should be chlorinated or drained.
  • Fill any low areas in the yard. Provide proper drainage.
  • Make sure gutters are clear and drain properly.
  • Do not store rimless tires where they can hold water. Make sure tire swings have holes drilled to allow water to drain.
  • Fill cavities in trees with soil, sand, or gravel.

West Nile Virus activiity and other mosquito-bourne diseases can be tracked through USGS Disease maps.


Thursday, 30 April 2015 14:53

Megan Epp

“My favorite part of my job is when I see a positive change take place in the families of Union County. I go into homes, on a daily basis, to help people overcome challenging situations, and although at times it is emotionally draining, at the end of the day it is richly rewarding.” 


Megan serves the Union County Health Department as a home visitor/ family service worker in the Help Me Grow division.  Her role in Help Me Grow is to educate Union County families, and help them create a healthy, educational, and safe environment for their children.

Megan spends her days assisting families in keeping up with health screenings, encouraging healthy behavior, providing resources, and making referrals on a weekly basis.  She enjoys the part of her job that requires her to work through problems.  By helping families, she gets to see positive results, and gets to celebrate achievements with these individuals, that she’s invested her time in. In her own words, “Helping families and children achieve their potential and believe in themselves is the most rewarding aspect of my job.”



Union County Ebola Prevention & Response Efforts

While the risk of Ebola remains low for Union County residents, local healthcare and emergency response partners met today to further discuss Ebola preparedness efforts in Union County in light of Wednesday's notification of an Ebola patient's travel to Ohio. Three key items were discussed today.

1) Risk for Ebola infection remains low.
All US Ebola cases have been directly linked to either (a) travel to an affected West African country or (b) have had direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is ill with Ebola (fever,
vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, severe headaches, stomach pain, unexplained bleeding or bruising).Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids (vomit, diarrhea, urine, saliva,
sweat, semen, blood) of an individual sick with Ebola. Ebola is not spread through air or food.

2) Protocols that will help in the early identification and containment of a possible Ebola case are being established and exercised.
Union County first responder agencies are creating and exercising protocols for determining a patient's Ebola exposure risk level and determining how that patient will enter the healthcare
system. Our local hospital and hospitals across Ohio are following the Ebola preparedness checklist and have exercised how they will handle a possible Ebola case. The state has provided
new, aggressive quarantine protocols in the event there is an Ebola case in Ohio. These protocols will also be critical in protecting our healthcare workers and first responders.

3) If you have questions about Ebola exposure, call the Union County Health Department.
If you have questions about Ebola, Ebola preparedness efforts, or who's at risk for Ebola, please call the Union County Health Department at (937) 642-2053 or the Ohio Ebola Hotline at 1-866-800-1404. If you are sick and have concerns, please call your primary care doctor.


CONTACT FOR MEDIA: Ebola communication efforts are being coordinated through the Union County Health Department. Jennifer Thrush, Public Information Officer for the Union
County Health Department is the primary contact for Ebola related inquiries. Ms. Thrush is working closely with local healthcare providers and first responders, the Ohio Department of Health, and the local health departments in central Ohio to gather information on Ohio Ebola prevention and response efforts.


Friday, 03 October 2014 04:14

Ebola Virus

Federal and state public health agencies are closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in Africa. The Union County Health Department is working closely with our local hospital, doctors, and first responders to ensure our community is prepared. While Ohioans are not at significant risk at this time, now is the best time for our community to prepare. For more information on how the healthcare system in Union County is preparing, please contact the Union County Health Department at (937) 642-2053.

If you are a healthcare provider looking for more information on the Ebola outbreak, click here




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