Public Health Week is April 2 to 8
Jane Looney | 4/4/07
From immunizations to annual health exams to breathing clean air, public health and environment professionals throughout the state are working for a healthier Colorado. National Public Health Week is April 2 to 8. Colorado’s theme for this year is Working Together for a Healthier You!

"This year I want to take the opportunity during public health week to bring attention to the thousands of Coloradans who are working to improve the health of our citizens and the environment in which we live," said Lt. Governor Barbara O'Brien. "From walking more, to maintaining a healthy diet and to physical activities outdoors, there are many simple lifestyle changes that people can make to improve their health."

Many of the leading causes of death and disability are preventable. The public health system places emphasis on educating those who live and work in Colorado about the benefits of adopting healthy lifestyles, including avoiding tobacco use, screening for early detection of disease, getting their children immunized, and eating healthy and getting regular physical activity. O’Brien further explains that public health and the environment go hand in hand. “The Department is committed to continuous improvement in the quality of our air, water and land, to protect and enhance the quality of life for current and future generations of Coloradans."

Maintaining a high level of public health requires a coordinated effort among the many public health service providers.  In Colorado, this work is done by 15 local public health departments (including San Juan Basin Health), 39 county public health nursing services, and 15 environmental health offices working in cooperation with the Department of Public Health and Environment.

Major areas of responsibility handled by Colorado's public health agencies include the following:

Preventing Diseases and Epidemics
  • working to make certain all Colorado children, regardless of family income, are immunized against preventable diseases
  • tracking disease outbreaks to curtail any further spread
  • keeping track of reportable diseases, ranging from whooping cough to measles and meningitis, in order to better control infectious diseases
  • informing Coloradans about how to protect themselves and their families from animal- and insect-borne diseases such as rabies, plague and West Nile virus
  • conducting newborn screening to provide for the detection of genetic conditions that can lead to permanent mental and physical disabilities, if not identified and treated early
Growing Healthy Babies and Families
  • providing basic foods to low-income mothers and their children through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program while also subsidizing food provided to low-income children and seniors at day-care centers and at facilities that care for the elderly
  • helping expectant mothers take better care of themselves and to live healthier lifestyles so they will deliver healthy babies
Safe Food
  • inspecting restaurants and other food outlets throughout the state to make certain the food they are selling is safe and the premises are clean and properly maintained
  • providing food safety training and resources for food establishments
Clean Air
  • controlling industrial pollution, smoke from fires, and automobile emissions to keep Colorado's air clean and to protect the health of its citizens by reducing particulate and carbon monoxide levels
  • working with Colorado residents to make better nutrition and increased physical activity a regular part of their daily activities to help protect them from a variety of illnesses
  • promoting and assisting with tobacco cessation and prevention
  • encouraging Colorado residents of all ages to make it a habit to protect themselves from unintentional injuries through a variety of measures: using and properly installing car seats and child booster seats; wearing helmets when bicycling, skiing and snowboarding; and helping senior citizens and their families learn how to make homes safer in an effort to prevent falls
Linking People to Health Services
  • providing Coloradans with information on how to select the best nursing home or assisted-living facility for themselves or for a family member
  • assisting low-income families of children with special needs to find needed medical care for those children
  • providing mammograms and Pap test for low-income women
More information can be obtained by logging onto the Department of Public Health and Environment's Web site at cdphe.state or San Juan Basin Health’s web site at: sjbhd.

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