Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Say goodbye to ‘the Missoula City-County Health Department’ and hello to ‘Missoula Public Health’.

KGVO News spoke to Health Department Director Damian Chase-Begay on Monday about the recent rebranding of the health department to better reflect its purpose and mission to the city and county.

A Shorter but More Precise Title for the Health Department

Chase-Begay said the COVID pandemic drove a wedge between the Missoula City-County Health Department and the population it serves, and a new name helps to bridge that gap.

“Especially because of COVID, people think of the health department and they think of licenses and restrictions; however public health involves so much more. We’re involved air quality, water quality, we work on car seats, preventing drunk driving, and improving seatbelt use. We do so much more than just what people think of when they think of the Health Department, and we really wanted to let our community know that we are here as part of our community to serve our community.”

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A New Website will be Unveiled within the Next Few Months

One of the most important parts of the name change will be a rebranding of the health department’s website.

“We are actually also going to be launching a new website, and the idea here so in addition to wanting to serve our community better, we need to have a better online presence,” he said. “There are a lot of things that we do that people would prefer to do online, such as filling out forms and getting permits and licenses and so we are actually going to be launching a new website in about a month and we wanted to have the new logo before we launched the new website.”

Missoula Public Health will deal with all Aspects of Community Health

Once again, Chase-Begay referenced the COVID pandemic and the agency’s mission of restoring communications with all Missoula County residents.

“That COVID really puts a barrier between us and our neighbors and we are absolutely trying to tear that barrier down regardless of how people felt about COVID. The fact of the matter is, we are here to try to work with and improve the health of everyone in Missoula. We want people to be safe when they go to restaurants and when they go to hotels. We want people to know that they can drink water safely, that they can breathe air safely, and anything that we can do to get people to work with us, we're seeing that as a positive momentum.”

Chase-Begay said he personally was excited about the new direction the agency will travel with its new title and website (soon to come).

“One, it's a lot shorter,” he said. “Missoula Public Health is just so much easier to say than Missoula City-County Health Department, and it fits in writing on letterhead and emails so much better, so our staff really likes that. The other thing is that our new logo is a tri-color logo. That really reflects our services. We have three divisions, health services, health promotion, and environmental health, and those three divisions are now represented in our new logo so staff can look at that logo and see that the work that they do is part of who we are as a whole.”

A spokesperson for the department told KGVO News that the new website is still under construction, but when it debuts in a few months the title will be MissoulaPublicHealth.org

Until then, reach the Missoula City County Health Department here.

The Health Department also wants the public to know that International Overdose Awareness Day is this Thursday, Aug. 31. Tabling at the University of Montana with Narcan and prevention supplies will take place on both Wednesday, Aug. 30, and Thursday, Aug. 31.

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