Friday, October 2, 2015


The Hungry For A Change Summit 2015, hosted by Hunger Free Colorado, was attended by two of theJCPH Nutrition Services/WIC staff on September 29, 2015. Hunger Free Colorado leads efforts to connect families and individuals to food resources and to fuel changes in systems, policies and social views, so no Coloradan goes hungry. Hunger Free Colorado is the state’s leading anti-hunger organization leveraging the power of collaboration, system change, policy change and social change to end hunger in Colorado. Below are a few highlights from the summit.

  • The Hunger Free Colorado Partnership with Kaiser Permanente connects patients to food and nutrition resources. At child wellness visits, patients are screened for food insecurity by asking: “When was the last time you worried whether your food would run out before you had money to buy more?”  Patients with positive screens are referred electronically to a community specialist, who assess for other social needs and also (with client permission) fax a referral to Hunger Free Colorado who will reach out to each referred member and connect them to nutritional assistance programs or other nutritional resources. 
  • “We Need to Think of Food Stamps as Medicine.” By reducing food insecurity, food stamps can  decrease a child’s risk of:
    • Hospitalization
    • Poor health
    • Iron deficiency anemia
    • Deficits in cognitive development
    • Behavioral and emotional problems
  • 1 in 7 Coloradans struggle with hunger, facing times when there is not enough money to buy food
  • 1 in 5 kids are hungry and those under the age of 6 are most likely to be in poverty 
  • More than 1 in 7 Colorado Seniors are unsure of when or where they will get their next meal.
Other topics at the Hungry for A Change Summit included:
  • Take Action To Address Childhood Hunger
  • Yes, We Can Impact Federal Policy
  • Creation of the Colorado Food Pantry Network
  • Helping Our Future by Helping Our Kids - Creative ways to expand access to summer and after-school meals that help benefit children’s cognitive abilities, physical development, school readiness and future eating habits. 
  • Around the State in 50 Minutes - An interactive session to share and learn what others around the state are doing to alleviate and solve hunger. 
For more information about Hunger Free Colorado and to learn how you can help
go to  For an overview on the summit, including powerpoint presentation, story compilations and social media posts, visit the website.



Raising Awareness Around Mental Health and Illness

Jefferson County Public Health promotes living healthy, active lives, and this includes having a happy, healthy mindset. Health begins within each individual and their ability to cope with everyday stresses and life in general, and their ability to make healthy choices for themselves. Many people around the world, within the United States, and even right here in Colorado, suffer daily with mental illness. Did you know that Colorado lost 1,058 people to suicide last year? This is the highest number in state history. That puts Colorado’s suicide rate at 19.4 per 100,000 residents — seventh highest in the country.

Suicide kills more Coloradans each year than homicide, car crashes, diabetes, breast cancer, flu or pneumonia. It is the seventh leading cause of death for all Coloradans and second leading cause of death for young Coloradans.

Each year, The National Alliance on Mental Illness celebrates Mental Illness Awareness Week during the first full week of October, which is the 4–10 of this year. The week’s 2015 theme revolves around building a movement through the new Stigma Free initiative. Being Stigma Free means learning about and educating others on mental illness, focusing on connecting with people to see each other as individuals and not a diagnosis, and most importantly, taking action on mental health issues.

In support of Mental Illness Awareness Week and mental health awareness in general, Jefferson County Public Health will be hosting its second Mental Health First Aid class open to the public! If you have not yet taken the course this will be a great opportunity to sign up and be a part of a larger discussion centered around how to increase mental wellness within our community.

The goal of the course is to support County community members by having improved mental health literacy! By completing this course you will have a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how this impacts a person’s daily life, and what helps a person experiencing these challenges move toward wellness.

Mental Health First Aid Curriculum Highlights:
  • Dispel myths about mental illness.
  • Educate participants about prevalence of mental illness.
  • An educational and interactive training.
  • Address the following mental health problems:
    • Depression, self-harm, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorders, panic attacks, psychosis and psychotic disorders (including schizophrenia), substance use disorders. 
  • Give participants an action plan to address these mental health problems:
A: Assess for risk of suicide or harm

L: Listen non-judgmentally

G: Give reassurance and information

E: Encourage appropriate professional help

E: Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Mental Health First Aid teaches participants to recognize symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person to appropriate treatments and other supportive help. Mental Health First Aid does not teach people to be therapists.

Class Date: October 15th 1:00pm to 5:00pm and October 22nd 1:00PM to 5:00pm

Class Location: Jefferson County Courts and Administration, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80401

Class will be held in rooms 1566/67 Westminster/Edgewater. They are on the 1st floor and you will not need to pass through security.

To register for either of the upcoming courses, click here

Public Health Encourages Participation in International Walk to School Day

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages parents and children around the county to join in a country-wide effort to celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 7, 2015. This fun walking or biking event promotes safe routes to school and emphasizes the physical, mental and environmental health benefits of walking or bicycling to school.

The event works by getting teams at schools to organize walking school buses and bike trains that promote and facilitate walking and bicycling to school. The teams work with local officials, parents, and school children to map safer routes to school by painting cross walks, removing debris from sidewalks, and having adults accompany groups of children on their journey to and from school. The program also includes bicycle and pedestrian safety education to teach children the skills they need to stay safe around traffic.

Walking or bicycling to and from school can be a first step to changing community culture and creating environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old. Here are some reasons to support walking and bicycling to school:

  • Enhance the health of kids. Increased physical activity can combat a host of health problems facing kids today.
  • Improve air quality. Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can help reduce air pollution.
  • Create safer routes for walking and bicycling. Sidewalks, education programs and traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve conditions for young students.
Information on Walk to School Day is also available at

Test Your Home for Radon with a Free Radon Test Kit From JCPH

JeffersonCounty Public Health (JCPH) encourages all residents to have their homes tested for radon gas, a naturally occurring gas that you can’t see, smell, or taste, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to radon is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year and is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Elevated levels of radon have been found in homes all across the country.  In Colorado, 52 of its 64 counties are at high risk for radon.  Due to the unpredictable nature of the gas, two houses right next to each other may have very different radon levels.  Testing is the only way to know for certain if you and your loved ones are at risk.

Protect yourself & your family by testing for radon in your home. Please call (303) 271-5700, or e-mail John Moody at to order your free radon test kit. Kits can also be picked up today at JCPH, 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood.  For more information on Radon, visit our website.

Youth Breathe Easy (BE) Teams Prepare to Reduce the Toll of Tobacco in Jefferson County

Did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 people who use tobacco start by the time they graduate from high school? Tobacco use is an epidemic and remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and youth in Jefferson County are working to change this by preparing for a year of coordinated efforts to reduce the toll of tobacco in their schools and communities.
Breathe Easy (BE) teams are clubs that exist in five Jefferson County High Schools including Golden, Jefferson, Lakewood, Ralston Valley and Wheat Ridge. Sponsored by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), BE Teams work to cause sustainable change that supports healthy, tobacco-free environments and prevents youth from initiating tobacco use. 
Annually, as part of a kick off to the school year, JCPH sponsors an intensive half-day Youth Advocacy Workshop that includes skill-building activities and leadership training to support BE Team students in their advocacy and outreach efforts throughout the school year. This year’s workshop will take place on October 3, 2015, from 9am to 1:30pm at the Jefferson County Courts and Administration Building and will include lessons in communications, policy change and public speaking. The workshop also allows for teambuilding and fun. By bringing BE Team students from each of the area high schools together, students report feeling connected to a bigger movement to end the tobacco epidemic. 
Tristin Roman, a Lakewood High School senior, became a dedicated BE Team member after attending the Youth Advocacy Workshop three years ago. One of Tristin’s significant accomplishments as part of the BE Team involved testifying before the Golden City Council to advocate in favor of their smoke and vapor-free public places ordinance, which passed unanimously in August 2014 and became effective January 1, 2015. Additionally, Tristin was recently appointed the inaugural position of Youth Chair of the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Alliance, an alliance of individuals and organizations addressing tobacco use in Jefferson County. In response to his participation as a BE Team member, Tristin stated, “I am really glad I joined the BE Team because it has made me a better person and improved my life. I’ve become a better leader and public speaker.”
Most recently, Wheat Ridge High School BE Team members have been advocating for a stronger smoke and vapor-free public places ordinance in the City of Wheat Ridge through a variety of activities such as a cigarette butt pick-up in Discovery Park and testifying to Wheat Ridge City Council about their findings.  If passed, the new ordinance would prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices in places that are smoke-free and would expand smoke and vapor-free protections to outdoor public recreation areas, city events, and outdoor transit waiting areas. The Council is expected to vote on this ordinance on October 12.

 To learn more about the Jeffco Breathe Easy Team or sign up to get involved, visit or contact Zach Dunlop at or 303-239-7169. For more information about this year’s Youth Advocacy Workshop, visit

Early & Regular Breast Cancer Screenings Saves Lives

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 1 in 8 (or 12%) of women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Additionally, around 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and about 60,290 new cases of non-invasive and early breast cancer will be diagnosed.

Body weight, physical activity, and diet have all been linked to breast cancer, so these are areas where anyone can take action to prevent breast cancer. Many studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked with lower breast cancer risk. And, a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products can also lower risk. Currently, the ACS recommends these three tips about diet and activity to possibly reduce risk of breast cancer: 

  • Get regular, intentional physical activity; 
  • Reduce your lifetime weight gain by limiting your calories and getting regular physical activity; and,
  • Avoid or limit your alcohol intake. 
However, routine breast screenings are the smartest and safest bet to detect breast cancer early. Screenings are extremely important, as early detection of breast cancer saves many thousands of lives each year.

The ACS recommends these general guidelines on what types of tests to have and when to have them:
  • Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health;
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic health exam by a health professional, at least every three years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year; 
  • Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away. 
  • Women at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to increasing awareness and providing early detection services within the county. JCPH offers low cost clinical breast exams, Pap tests, and pelvic exams to all Jefferson County women as part of their routine Women’s Wellness Exam. For more information, visit our website. To schedule an appointment at the Lakewood clinic please call (303) 239-7078.

More information on breast cancer, the risk factors and prevention steps,  can be found at: