Join us for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Chatham County Public Health Department continues its commitment to provide access to breast cancer screenings and educational opportunities for women in North Carolina.

According to North Carolina’s State Center for Health Statistics, 9,772 women in North Carolina will be diagnosed with and 1,391 will die of breast cancer in 2015. It is more important than ever that we spread the message that early detection and prompt treatment of breast cancer saves lives. October is BreasBreast Cancer Awareness Montht Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, celebrating the lives of the many women who survived, and remembering those lost.

The Chatham County Public Health Department will be putting the spotlight on breast cancer. Health department staff will be available to provide information and answer any questions you may have at the Goldston Old Fashioned Day on October 10, 2015. If your organization is interested in a breast cancer presentation, please call the health department at 919-742-5641 and you will be directed to the appropriate person.

Breast cancer remains the most frequently occurring cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths of women in North Carolina, but early diagnosis can make a difference. Ninety-six percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer-free after five years.

The Chatham County Public Health Department encourages all women to take charge of their health by going for regular screening to check a woman’s breasts for cancer before noticeable signs or symptoms are present. There are three main tests used to screen for breast cancer.

Breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts for lumps, swelling, changes in size or shape of the breast, and any other changes in the breast or underarm.

Clinical breast exam is a breast exam by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to carefully feel for lumps or other changes in the entire breast area.

Mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause other symptoms.

We urge every woman to talk with their healthcare provider about which screening is right for you.

The Chatham County Public Health Department along with many other local health departments offers free breast screenings, education and referral services to eligible women through the NC Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). To learn more about the NC BCCCP, visit or call 919-707-5300.


Eat A Rainbow Week: Preparing Your Plate

“This article is part of a series leading up to Eat a Rainbow Week 2015, September 20st-September 26th. Eat a Rainbow Week is a community wide campaign promoting the importance of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. During Eat a Rainbow Week community organizations across Chatham County partner to bring you fruit and vegetable themed events throughout the week. Find out about Eat a Rainbow week events across Chatham County  at”

Tips from Angelina Koulizakis, founder and chef at Angelina’s Kitchen an Eat a Rainbow participating location.

Written by Sarah Weller Pegna, Health Promotion Coordinator at the Chatham County Public Health Department

Next week is Eat a Rainbow Week! From September 20th to September 26th, Chatham County will fill its plates with fruits and vegetables of every color. This week, in preparation, we spoke with Angelina Koulizakis, founder and chef at Angelina’s Kitchen, who shared with us some great fruit and vegetable preparation tips.

I met Angelina at the restaurant and we took a seat in the dining room. Our first question was, “What kinds of fruits and vegetables should we talk about?” There is such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (every color of the rainbow!), and just as many ways to prepare each one. We discussed four easy, versatile fruits and vegetables- collards, tomatoes, field peas and berries.

Collards: Collard greens are a southern classic. Collards are packed with vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamins A, K and C, as well as, calcium, and fiber. Fresh collard greens can be bulky, so Angelina’s first tip when preparing collard greens is to remove the stem, and then cut the leaves into ribbons. Wash the ribbons well in water and dry thoroughly. You can now store your less bulky collards in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. To store longer, you can freeze your collard ribbons in a ziplock bag. Use your frozen collards just like you would frozen collards from the store.

Angelina also shared one of her favorite, simple preparations for collards. All you need is some oil (she suggests olive oil), collard ribbons, diced carrots, diced tomatoes (fresh or frozen) and some water. Heat a little oil in a pan. Once hot, add your fresh or frozen collards ribbons, diced carrots and tomatoes. Add water to the pan to about one inch deep. Cook the collards until they’re done to your liking. Angelina says she is a big fan of this recipe because it’s flavorful, while also being vegan and diet friendly.

Tomatoes: Big, small, red, yellow, and even purple. Tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes. Tomatoes have a number of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, which supports immune health, and lycopene, which has been linked to improved bone health. Angelina’s first thought for fresh, summer tomatoes is the classic tomato sandwich, and of course in salads. To prepare tomatoes, it really depends on what you’re making, but Angelina cautions to always use cut tomatoes right away. She says they can develop a mealy taste if cut too far in advance. If you have extra tomatoes on hand, Angelina has a great method for freezing them. Wash your tomatoes, cut an X into the bottom, place them on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once the tomatoes are frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag to store.  When you’re ready to use them, just put your frozen tomatoes in a bowl (otherwise you’ll have a big mess); the skin will come right off as they defrost. You are now ready to make pasta sauce, soup or stew. Angelina recommends a quick pasta sauce with tomatoes (either fresh or frozen), olive oil, garlic and basil.

Field peas: Field peas refer to a family of peas, including the black-eyed pea and purple hull pea. Common in the south, field peas are high in vitamin C, fiber and protein. The first thing you have to do with field peas is shell them, which means removing the small round peas from the pod. You can then prepare your fresh peas or put your shelled peas in a freezer bag and store them for later. Shelled peas are good in the fridge for about one week. One of Angelina’s favorite recipes includes peas, bacon, onions, garlic, oil, okra, salt and pepper. For an extra vegetable boost, you can add some grated carrot. To prepare, cook the bacon and remove from the pan. In the bacon fat, cook the onion and garlic. Add the field peas, okra, pierced several times with a fork, and optional grated carrot. Fill the pan to about one inch deep with water. Cook until tender, about half an hour. Remove from heat, crumble bacon over the top and enjoy!

Berries: The first thing Angelina said when we started discussing berries was to wash them and eat them as is! Berries make an incredible snack! They’re also packed with vitamins and nutrients. Fresh berries will last in the fridge for 4-5 days (unwashed).  You can also freeze berries, which also make a great snack. Angelina recommends fresh or frozen berries in oatmeal, to decorate cakes and as a topping for ice cream or yogurt. One of her favorite berry dishes is simple- plain Greek yogurt, honey, and berries.

Now that you know how to prepare them, go stock up your fridge and prepare to eat a rainbow next week!

To learn about the Eat a Rainbow Week activities at Angelina’s Kitchen, and other organizations and restaurants across Chatham County, visit


Active Chatham Grant Application Deadline Approaching

The deadline is approaching for the Active Chatham Grant. Grant applications must be received by Monday, September 14, 2015.

The purpose of this grant is to provide physical activity opportunities for public use located entirely within Chatham County. Funds should be used to enhance or increase access to parks, trails, playgrounds and programs that promote physically active lifestyles.

Proposals will be accepted from non-profit organizations, Chatham County Public Schools, individuals, associations, and local businesses. Child care centers may apply for funds to promote programs that increase wellness activities that promote physical activity. Proposed projects must be located entirely within Chatham County. Funds must go toward a project that creates or enhances opportunities for physical activity for members of the public.

The total funding amount is $5,400 and one to three projects will receive funding. Organizations and agencies may apply for amounts between $500 to $5,400.

Applications are due by Monday, September 14, 2015. To find out more information and to download the grant application, visit Paper grant applications may be found at the Chatham County Public Health Department Administrative Building, located at 80 East Street, Pittsboro, NC. You may also contact Jennifer Park at 919-545-8444 or if you have any questions.


Be Aware and Prepare Chatham County!

September is North Carolina Preparedness Month

There are many weather-related emergencies that impact Chatham County readyncthroughout the year from severe thunder storms, to lightning, tornadoes, flooding, or winter storms that cause dangerous driving conditions.  This time of year also is prime season for hurricanes which, at some point, have impacted every county in North Carolina.

Emergencies do not even have to be weather-related. Public disturbances, chemical spills or fires could happen at any time.

Do you know what to do? Do you have a plan in place? The best way to protect your family is be aware and prepare.

That’s why Chatham County is observing September as North Carolina Preparedness Month – to encourage residents to become better prepared for any type of emergency. Taking four easy steps can help protect your family when an emergency strikes: 1) make a plan, 2) discuss and practice your plan with your family, 3) build an emergency supplies kit, and 4) stay informed.

Making a plan only takes a few minutes. Just record what you need to do, where to go and how to get in touch with family members. Include any special considerations for older adults, people with functional needs and/or pets. Also include the location of your emergency kit.  Develop your plan to your family’s needs and discuss it with the entire family. Be sure to include phone numbers of each family member, a number for a pre-assigned out-of-state contact who can keep track of family members, and an ‘in case of emergency’ contact for emergency personnel to use. Also, choose a meeting place where all family members can meet during emergencies.

Kudos to you if you already have a plan! Take the time to review and update it, discuss it with your family and practice it. Don’t wait for an emergency to figure out what you need to do.

An emergency supplies kit should contain enough non-perishable food and bottled water (1 gallon per person per day) to last three to seven days. Kits also should include: copies of insurance papers and identification, first aid kit, weather radio and batteries, prescription medicines, bedding, weather-appropriate clothing, hygiene items, cash, and supplies for any household pets. A complete list of kit items can be found at

Stay informed by learning about the risks in your area, such as if you live in low-lying or floodplain area. Learn what to do before, during and after different types of emergencies. And listen to local media when severe weather threatens.

Find more information on emergency preparedness at Chatham County emergency officials also urge residents to get the free ReadyNC mobile app, which provides real-time weather and traffic conditions for all parts of North Carolina.

Remember: Be Aware and Prepare to keep your family safe!


Eat a Rainbow Week: Fill your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables

Eat a Rainbow WeekLogo 2015 is almost here! This year, the Eat a Rainbow Week planning committee, community groups, participating restaurants, businesses and Chatham residents will all be teaming up to fill plates with fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are an important component of a balanced diet. Just by adding a couple servings of fruits or vegetables each day, you boost your immune system, strengthen your bones, help your memory and more!

In the weeks leading up to Eat a Rainbow Week, we’ll be sharing tips for shopping, storing, preparing, eating (yum), and saving fruits and vegetables, so we can all fill our plates during Eat a Rainbow Week! The goal is to get at least 5 servings (or more if you can)!

Keep up to date with tips and events on Facebook:

More information is also available at