Thursday, March 28, 2013

2012 Public Health Champion of the Year - Ron DiDonato

Jefferson County, Colorado--Public Health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our communities. Each year, during National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2013, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) honors some of the many people it works with throughout the year that help to make our county healthy. While they may not have made public health their profession, the work they do, the partnerships they provide and their enthusiasm for protecting the health of Jefferson County residents makes them the 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year.
  • Protecting Jefferson County’s Groundwater for Generations to Come, Ron DiDonato 
Ron DiDonato, owner of RCD Construction has been installing individual sewage disposal systems in Jefferson County for over 20 years, primarily in the Indian Hills area. He can tell you how important it is that these systems meet the highest standards for design and installation in order to protect the community’s groundwater resources. Groundwater, the water beneath the surface in rocks and soil, the water that collects in aquifers throughout the county, is many times the same water that comes out of the tap for drinking and cooking. Ron DiDonato has worked to keep that water safe and free of contaminants in Indian Hills by doing his best when installing Individual disposal systems. The Indian Hills community has some groundwater contamination issues because Indian Hills is located in the fractured bedrock area of the County, meaning there are increased potential for contaminants, such as nitrates to directly impact the groundwater. Mr. DiDonato’s ISDS installations have included the latest in wastewater treatment technology. In addition to typical components such as septic tanks and absorption beds, Ron sees to it that the additional pumps, motors and control panels are properly installed to assure that the system will work as intended and will produce the improved wastewater quality so crucial to protecting the fragile groundwater environment. Ron has made a career out of doing this important job very well and is a 2012 Public Health Champion for his efforts. Ron also recently demonstrated his heavy-equipment handling skills by winning the “Roe-d-Hoe” event during the Colorado Professionals in Onsite Wastewater (CPOW) annual conference. The dedicated professionalism of Public Health Champion, Ron DiDonato has improved onsite wastewater disposal in Jefferson County and protected the groundwater resources for the many citizens who rely on it for their drinking water. Congratulations and thank you Ron.

2012 Public Health Champion of the Year - Carol Sue Frickel

Jefferson County, Colorado--Public Health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our communities. Each year, during National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2013, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) honors some of the many people it works with throughout the year that help to make our county healthy. While they may not have made public health their profession, the work they do, the partnerships they provide and their enthusiasm for protecting the health of Jefferson County residents makes them the 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year.
  • Reducing and Preventing Childhood Poverty and Hunger, Carole Sue Frickel 
Carole Sue Frickel is a longtime advocate for children at risk for poverty and food insecurity in the community. Her unique experience as a former Jeffco Public Schools speech and language specialist, as well as her unending energy, compassion and vision, uniquely position her as a leader to connect people and efforts to reduce and prevent childhood poverty and hunger in Jeffco. Carole Sue has been a contributing member to the Wheat Ridge “Feed the Future Backpack Program” for many years. She assists in coordinating volunteers to pack and distribute food at Kullerstrand Elementary school for the Feed the Future Program. This program provides food items to kids and families most in need in the Kullerstrand community.

Carole Sue is also intent on ensuring kids have access to food over the summer months when they are not in school. During the spring and summer months, she works to support a cohesive and comprehensive Summer Feeding Program in Wheat Ridge by working with Wheat Ridge City staff, Hunger Free Colorado, Jeffco Public Schools, LiveWell Wheat Ridge and other community based organizations. An excellent example is her partnership with Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church to support a community based summer feeding program assuring the families surrounding the church have access to food. By partnering with Dan Odell, pastor of the church, they partnered with Food Bank of the Rockies and Hunger Free Colorado to implement a feeding program that provided not just food but enrichment activities to all who accessed the program.

Carole Sue Frickel is a 2012 Public Health Champion of the Year for her energy, compassion and tireless commitment to children. Congratulations and thank you Carole Sue Frickel.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

National Public Health Week 2013

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is proud to be a part of National Public Health Week (NPHW), celebrated each year during the first full week of April. April 1-7, 2013.

We all have a role in supporting a strong public health system and in putting prevention to work in our lives. This year’s theme as declared by the American Public Health Association is Public Health is ROI, Saves Lives, Saves Money. The return on investment on the preventive services, programs and policy initiatives provided by public health departments across the nation is cause for celebration. View the APHA website for more information and daily themes. Jefferson County Public Health celebrates public health week with the announcement and celebration of the 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year. Check our web page for the announcement and other important news items. We will also include the Champions in our April newsletter.

Brain Injury Awareness

A brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. The numbers are alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a contributing factor to a third (30.5%) of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. 
  • Almost half a million (473,947) emergency department visits for TBI are made annually by children aged 0 to 14 years. 
  • Adults aged 75 years and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death. 
These numbers can be dramatically reduced by paying special attention to injury prevention. Jefferson County Public Health urges everyone to learn more about preventing falls, motor vehicle safety and wearing appropriate protective gear when participating in sports and other activities.

The JCPH Health Care Program for Children with Special Needs (HCP) assists families with children with TBI and other conditions. Call 303-239-7006 or visit JCPH Health Care Program for Special Needs for more information.

Taking care of your brain also means feeding it properly. Healthy foods help create healthy minds. Wild salmon, blueberries, black beans, walnuts, carrots and oats are all healthy foods that are also good for your brain. View the JCPH Superfoods handout.

Jefferson County Youth are Through with Chew

 This year’s Great American Spit Out (GASpO) was on February 21, 2013. The GASpO is a one-day challenge that encourages smokeless tobacco users to skip the dip and go just one day without tobacco. Inspiring students to quit is made a little easier when facts about spit tobacco use are shared.  A 2008 study from the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that smokeless tobacco users have an 80 percent higher risk of developing oral cancer and a 60 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic and esophageal cancer.  Another fact, included in the The S.T.O.P. Guide (The Smokeless Tobacco Outreach and Prevention Guide) states that “Leukoplakia, which can lead to oral cancer, occurs in more than half of all users in the first three years of use, with more than 60 percent of spit tobacco users experiencing these oral lesions.”1

 The Lakewood High School’s Breathe Easy (BE) Team – a group of students working to reduce tobacco's toll through education, outreach, and advocacy – helped organize a quit challenge for the GASpO. Twelve students signed up for the quit challenge and received a quit kit and support throughout the day. Many of the students had a hard time, but stuck with it. One student told Nicole Swaggerty, Youth Engagement Specialist for the Tobacco Prevention Initiative at Jefferson County Public Health, he was offered dip 5 times by his peers during the day, but he declined their offers. Another student who pledged to quit for the day said it was hard but the sunflower seeds, toothpicks, and text messages encouraging him to stay tobacco-free were really helpful. Throughout the day at Lakewood HS, students came by the GASpO table and received education about the dangers of smokeless tobacco. For more information on tobacco prevention please contact Donna Viverette at 303-275-7555 or visit the Jefferson County Public Health website.

1. The S.T.O.P. Guide (The Smokeless Tobacco Outreach and Prevention Guide): A Comprehensive Directory of Smokeless Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Resources. Applied Behavioral Science Press, 1997; Hatsukami, D & Severson, H, “Oral Spit Tobacco: Addiction, Prevention and Treatment,” Nicotine & Tobacco Research 1:21-44, 1999.]

JCPH Celebrates March as National Nutrition Month

Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

JCPH dieticians and WIC educators (Women, Infants and Children) are celebrating the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month by offering healthy recipes for you to “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day!” This year’s theme encompasses the idea that each of us has our own food preferences, lifestyles, traditions and health concerns. “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits.

Visit the JCPH nutrition web page or our social media sites to get recipes for your family! Mix together a little physical activity, and you’ve got the recipe for a healthier Jefferson County! Jefferson County Nutrition Services provides nutrition education and counseling, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program and more.

Egg Safety

With the arrival of spring, many Jefferson County residents will celebrate by decorating eggs for Easter. Jefferson County Public Health asks that you keep these safety tips in mind when coloring your eggs:

Before decorating, decide whether or not you want to eat the decorated eggs later. If you do, follow these rules:
  • Wash your hands between all the steps. 
  • Be sure that all the materials you use are food safe. 
  • Keep the eggs refrigerated as much as possible. 
  • Dye the eggs in water warmer than the eggs so the insides don’t absorb the dye. 
  • If you hide the decorated eggs, avoid contact with animals or lawn chemicals. 
  • Throw out any “found” eggs that have cracked or have been out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 
  • Eat the refrigerated eggs within one week. 
Fresh eggs must be purchased, handled, prepared and stored carefully to avoid the possibility of foodborne illness. Even eggs with clean, un-cracked shells may contain bacteria called Salmonella
  • Buy eggs only sold from a refrigerated case. 
  • Make sure that the eggs are not cracked. 
  • Refrigerate at 40ºF or below. 
  • Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water. 
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny. 
  • Cook egg dishes until they reach 160°F. Use a food thermometer to be sure. 
Please see our Egg Safety fact sheet for more information or click here for information from Fight BAC, the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

Attention: Jefferson County Food Service Establishments

Revisions to the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations will take effect March 1, 2013. To ensure operators are familiar with the revisions, the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability has worked in collaboration with State Food Safety to develop an online training of the major changes to the revised Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. This training is available for a fee of $2.50 for any retail food operator or food handling employee that wishes to take the course. For more information view the JCPH food safety web page.

In addition the JCPH Excellence in Food Safety Program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year! Consider taking a class on safe food handling and preparation.

Provide a Safe Sleep Environment for Infants

Watch this Jefferson County Insights video featuring a Jefferson County mother and her infant during a visit with one of our public health nurses as well as an interview with Dr. Ann Halbower with Children’s Hospital.

Creating a safe sleep environment for infants is easy to do and can reduce risk of suffocation, as well as sudden unexplained infant death syndrome (SUIDS). Start by removing all items from the crib, including crib bumpers, blankets and toys. Be sure to place infants on their backs to sleep and keep them warm by using a simple sleep sack or one-piece sleep wear. Some parents and caregivers feel more comfortable having the infant sleep in the same room, this is fine, but only if there is a portable sleeping crib or bassinette. The risk of suffocation is real! Never share a bed or sleeping space with an infant. Parents and caregivers can also protect infants by making sure that anyone else who might be putting the baby down for sleep, including grandparents and other family members, understands the importance of a safe sleep environment and follows these guidelines. Visit the JCPH injury prevention page to learn more about safe sleep and injury prevention across the lifespan.