The Jefferson County Health Department welcomed a new adminsitrator this week as George Bernardino took the helm at the county facility.
Bernardino comes with 20 years of United States Naval experience as a hospital corpsman and administrator. Having served in such places as Sasabo, Japan, Norfolk (on the USS Nassau) and Hawaii, Jefferson County, W. Va. is not where he thought he would end up.
Originally from the Philippines, Bernardino came to the United States when he was eight years old and loves everything about America including serving in the U.S. military.
"The best thing I can do in my life is serve my country," Bernardino said this week.
He takes the job here very seriously and indicated that he already has goals to improve the department. While improving, he says that the most important thing he can do is make sure that all mandates and regulations are followed. He also indicated that having his staff take ownership of their jobs is an important aspect of the move forward.
Currently, he shared, his staff consists of the following: Bill Zaleski who serves as Registered Sanitarian Supervisor, Murphy Pratt, III, Sanitarian I; Darien Torlone, LPN Supervisor, Robin Penxe, LPN, Spring Stillions, LPN and Pam McNally and Janice Curtis who serve as office assistants. There are several open positions at the health department which need to be filled, according to a staffing list provided. Bernardino felt it very important to name the current staff as they are the heart of the organization.
"What is important is ownership of the job. Everyone is a leader in their position," he said. Falling back on his Navy lingo, he said, "I am at the helm, but others are driving the work."
Bernardino said that he has goals to develop a dental clinic as part of the department as well as employ a substance abuse counselor, two things he sees as critical for the area.
"We also need more outreach to the homeless," he said and to improve the basic marketing strategy of how the public is made aware of services provided at the facility.
Currently the department offers a variety of medical, epidemiology/food safety and general environmental services. Individuals can come for family planning, immunications, TB tests, cancer control programs, glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure monitoring as well as chest X-ray clinics and STD/HIV testing.
The department can provide information on rabies control, public health threat preparedness and response, lead, milk, school/lunch program, child care centers and much more. They inspect food service in restaurants, vending machines and other area. They also inspect wells, public water supplies, public pools and much more.
Education on a variety of the above subjects can be obtained by contacting the department.
Bernardino said that he has always made a practice of going beyond the minimum requirements for a job and this one will prove no different.
"I want a challenge," he said. "It's always going to be a challenge." Innovation is important and he plans to take every opportunity to continue learning.
Bernardino makes his home in Martinsburg with his wife and son.