Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2012 Public Health Champion of the Year - Linda Buzard and Margaret Huffman

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.
  • Preventing Pertussis and Other Vaccine Preventable Diseases among Jefferson County’s Children, Jeffco Public Schools Health Services Director, Linda Buzard and Coordinator, Margaret Huffman 
Jeffco Public Schools and its Health Services Division play a key role in promoting the health and safety of children throughout the County. In 2012, the Health Services Division teamed up with JCPH to prevent the spread of pertussis or “whooping cough” in our communities. Health Service Director, Linda Buzard, and Health Services Coordinator, Margaret Huffman are 2012 public health champions for their dedication and hard work assuring that Jefferson County’s school age children are up-to-date on immunizations. 2012 brought increased cases of pertussis disease in the County and across the state of Colorado. As pertussis threatened the lives of some of our most vulnerable populations, the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, these two women made it their mission to protect children through immunization.

Linda Buzard has been a champion for improving immunization rates and preventing spread of communicable disease in the school district for many years. Her support of school nurse and public health nurse communication and collaboration is phenomenal and sets a very positive professional role model for her school nurses. This year, Linda was instrumental in getting Jeffco Schools to participate in the Colorado Immunization Information System. This system is designed to increase and sustain high immunization coverage rates by consolidating immunization records from multiple providers. She also selected JCPH Immunization Program as the recipient of community partnership funds to increase and enhance immunization services for all Jefferson County children. Linda invited JCPH public health nurses to present to school nurses at their district wide meetings and she also included the public health nurses in a celebration of Public School Nurses’ Week.

Health Service’s Coordinator, Margaret Huffman is also a public health champion for her work preventing pertussis and other vaccine preventable diseases in the County. This past year, Margaret committed countless hours meeting with JCPH Immunization Program nurses to identify barriers to immunization for students in at-risk schools. Her commitment to developing strategies and solutions and sharing resources in order to increase immunization rates for these populations is to be commended. In addition, Margaret’s responsiveness, openness to ideas and dialogue, and her positive and congenial demeanor have made her an ideal community partner and catalyst for action.

There is no question that these two public health champions, Linda Buzard and Margaret Huffman, have improved immunization rates among Jeffco school age children and reduced the spread of pertussis in the county. Jefferson County Public Health congratulates you on being 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year and thanks you for your contribution to public health in Jefferson County.

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