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 4-10, 2016, 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 qualifies them as the 2015 Public Health Champions. An award ceremony hosted by JCPH, the Jefferson County Board of Health and the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners was held on March 30, 2016. JCPH is pleased to announce the following 2015 Public Health Champions:
· Ensuring Safe Science Classrooms & Laboratories for Children in Jeffco Schools
Kimberly MacDonnell, Karen Minteer and Jenelle Vierzbicki
Kimberly MacDonnell, Karen Minteer and Jenelle Vierzbicki
Jeffco Schools Kimberly MacDonnell and her colleagues Karen Minteer and Jenelle Vierzbicki are Public Health Champions for their work ensuring that Jeffco Schools’ science classrooms and laboratories are safe. The State of Colorado issued rules and regulations back in 1990 to address safety issues in science classrooms and laboratories. The rules and regulations which Jeffco Schools are mandated to meet were amended in 2002, updated in 2006, and amended again in 2015. These public health champions actively participated in the 2015 Rules and Regulations Governing Schools revisions. They attended scheduled meetings and added valuable experience and input.
As Director of Environmental Services for Jeffco Schools, Kim MacDonnell knows that science classrooms can be a unique challenge. Kim and her team evaluate the potential hazards of evolving curriculum, provide training and resources to staff, maintain safety equipment, assess chemical storage areas, manage spills, and properly dispose of experimental leftovers. Kim also sees to it that communications with JCPH Environmental Health Services is consistent and regular.
Karen Minteer is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager. Her background in teaching high school chemistry is especially valuable in understanding the challenges in school laboratory settings. Kim is able to offer tips and tools to teaching staff that can be incorporated quickly have a huge impact on safety.
Jenelle Vierzbicki is a Certified Safety Professional with a wealth of knowledge in accident prevention. Her years of experience and background in risk assessment are key in developing best-practice recommendations for science experiment preparation and safety. Jenelle helps to ensure that Jeffco Schools continually strives to improve safety.
Kim and her team have been a wonderful resource to Jefferson County Public Health when it comes to achieving and maintaining long term compliance with safety regulations at Jeffco Schools. Their commitment to public health & child safety makes them 2015 Public Health Champions. Congratulations Kim, Karen and Jenelle!
· Reducing the Toll of Tobacco in our Communities through Youth Engagement
Breathe Easy (BE) Team students Brittany Willis, Tristin Roman, Morgan Lester, Jessie Jennett and Lakewood High School BE Team sponsor Kim Morrow
In 2015, four Jefferson County youth passionately pursued tobacco prevention efforts within their schools and their communities by immersing themselves in local Breathe Easy (BE) Teams. Supported by their high schools and Jefferson County Public Health’s (JCPH) Tobacco Prevention Initiative, BE Teams continue to make significant gains in shaping tobacco-free norms, changing local community policy and reducing the environmental impact of tobacco in local communities. Brittany Willis, a sophomore at Golden High School; Tristin Roman, a senior at Lakewood High School; Morgan Lester, a junior at Lakewood High School; Jessie Jennett, a senior at Lakewood High School and Kim Morrow a counselor and sponsor of the BE Team at Lakewood High School are all 2015 Public Health Champions for their work to reduce the toll of tobacco through youth engagement.
During the Spring of 2015, BE Teams led students from other area schools in a Kick Butt’s Day Cigarette Butt Pick-Up at Crown Hill and Discovery Park. Together, youth collected almost 6,500 cigarette butts in 45 minutes, but the work didn’t stop there. These Public Health Champions were so moved to create a healthier, tobacco-free community that they testified before Wheat Ridge City Council to lend support for a smoke and vapor-free parks ordinance in Wheat Ridge. In addition, they organized numerous tobacco prevention events in their schools and field trips to survey tobacco retailers within 1,000 feet from Jeffco schools. Both Brittany and Tristin have volunteered time at the Health Department to work on various youth-related tobacco prevention issues. Their concerted efforts helped raise awareness about the negative impact tobacco has on youth and their community and the benefits of smoke and vapor-free parks and other public areas. Kim Morrow has provided remarkable support and encouragement to youth and has contributed greatly to the team’s success. Her consistent willingness to volunteer time and energy as well as her excellent leadership skills are to be applauded. Thank you and congratulations to Brittany, Tristin, Morgan, Jessie, and Kim, for their meaningful contributions to tobacco prevention.
Cheryl Yeske, RN, Care Manager
Cheryl Yeske, RN, Care Manager at Lutheran Medical Center is a public health champion for her work advocating for the health and safety of Jefferson County newborns and their parents. This Public Health Champion does an amazing job of assessing the needs of new parents including risk factors that make them vulnerable when returning home with a newborn. As an RN and care manager, Cheryl has the opportunity to build meaningful and trusting relationships with her patients. She works to connect moms with home visitations from a public health nurse, mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, tobacco prevention, the WIC program and referrals to Medicaid and other resources as needed. Cheryl’s primary concern is that mothers and their newborns have a safe and supportive start and she is there to help build a safety network around them. She acts as a liason between JCPH nurse home visitors and Lutheran Medical Center.
Cheryl has been an advocate of the Nurse Family Partnership and Prenatal Plus programs for many years and makes referrals regularly. Both of these programs assist families as they begin their parenting journeys with the support of a caring public health nurse visiting them in their home. Cheryl sends valuable information to nurse home visitation nurses and assists with developing care plans for mom and baby. She is meticulous and thorough in her care management. Cheryl’s ability to identify risk factors and resources available to moms going home from the hospital improves the lives of many of Jefferson County’s youngest and most vulnerable and makes her a Jefferson County 2015 Public Health Champion.
· Increasing Physical Activity through the Built Environment
Rose Chavez, Healthy Places Initiative Coordinator, and the City of ArvadaJefferson County Public Health is proud to honor Rose Chavez, Healthy Places Coordinator, and the City of Arvada, as Public Health Champions for their work to create healthy and thriving communities through the Healthy Places Initiative.
This three-year initiative, funded by the Colorado Health Foundation, began in the Spring of 2013 and is being led by a stakeholder committee made up of a mix of community residents, city staff, Jeffco Schools, businesses and faith leaders. The initiative is working to increase healthy communities in three neighborhoods in Arvada and will focus on community engagement and community-driven approaches to select infrastructure improvements in a variety of settings. The Healthy Places Initiative will help Arvada improve access and connectivity to a variety of important destinations, making it easier to walk, bike, play and engage in daily activities that encourage movement and connection wi th the community. Arvada and its partners are successfully integrating health into a variety of planning documents to ensure healthy community design, programs, and infrastructure changes are sustained and encouraged.
Congratulations to Rose Chavez and the City of Arvada for your contribution to the public’s health in 2015. Rose is also an active member of the Jefferson County Health Improvement Network’s Active Living Coalition.
· Increasing Physical Activity, Healthy Eating and Psychosocial Well-Being through the Jefferson County Community Health Improvement Network
The Jefferson County Community Health Improvement Network has made significant strides towards creating a healthier Jefferson County using a collective impact framework to coordinate health improvement efforts throughout the county. In 2015, Jefferson County Public Health engaged over 200 partners from mulitiple sectors to work together towards a common goal: to increase physical activity, healthy eating and psychosocial well-being. To organize these efforts, six coalitions, also known as CoINs, were formed, each focusing on a particular area. These include the Active Living Coalition, the Food Access Coalition, the Healthy Beverage Coalition, the Health in Early Childhood Collaborative, the School Wellness Coalition and the Preventive Care and Behavioral Health Resources Coalition. While we thank and appreciate everyone who contributes to this network of community coalitions, certain individuals stand out this year as champions for their leadership. The following community members are Public Health Champions for their work within the Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network:
o Supporting Local Food Access and Participating on the Jefferson County Food Policy Council - Jacki Paone
Jefferson County Public Health is proud to honor Jacki Paone, Director of the Colorado State University Extension office in Jefferson County, as a Public Health Champion for her work to support local food access.
Jacki’s commitment to build and sustain partnerships across a variety of departments and agencies, and her energy and enthusiasm to align resources at CSU Extension, to support local food access, has moved food systems work in Jefferson County to a new level. Examples of this are her co-facilitation of the Healthy Food For Jeffco Kids Network, her continued support and commitment to the newly formed Jefferson County Food Policy Council, her leadership on the East Central Jeffco Food Assessment, and her integration of food systems work into her job at Extension.
Additionally, Jacki Paone is committed to providing opportunities for dialogue and capacity building on food system issues. This was demonstrated by her leadership and facilitation of the Mark Winne food policy council training held in April 2015. In addition, Jacki is always willing to meet and brainstorm with partners about how to integrate healthy food access, physical activity, and other healthy behaviors into youth programming. Jacki and her staff continually support local food growers by offering programs such as “Building Farmers,” “Top Ten Vegetables to Grow in Colorado,” “The Thrill of Starting Seeds,” “Understanding Pests and Disease,” “Container Gardening,” "Cottage Food Safety" and more. All this, while also providing fresh local produce from the Extension’s demonstration garden to local food pantries. Congratulations and thank you to Jacki Paone for your considerable contributions to the public’s health in 2015.
o Increasing Awareness of and Access to Healthy Beverages for Jefferson County Families
Traci Jervis and Jesse Greaves-Smith
Traci Jervis and Jesse Greaves-Smith
Traci Jervis and Jesse Greaves-Smith are public health champions for their work increasing awareness of and access to healthy beverages for all Jefferson County families. These two champions are also accepting on behalf of everyone on the Healthy Beverage Coalition. Traci has been instrumental in helping launch the Healthy Beverage Coalition. As a Jeffco resident, mother, and public health student, Traci knows how important access to healthy beverages is in our communities and is passionate about the work of the coalition. Traci shared at the bi-annual Jeffco Network meeting about the launch of the Healthy Beverage Coalition, and is a current active and involved member.
Jesse Greaves-Smith has a decade of experience redesigning summer camp experiences for the Denver Area Boy Scout Council. As a director of Colorado Adventure Point, he uses scouting ideals and experiential methods, refined through the lens of educational research, to create a new version of what learning can look like for all youth. Jesse joined the Healthy Beverage Coalition to work towards real results with a wide group of people who also believe that when it comes to health, we can do better for all kids. Recently, Jesse has partnered with the Healthy Beverage Coalition to conduct a vending assessment at Adventure Point, ensuring that the environment supports positive food choices for the thousands of youth that pass through that facility. Jesse is also an active member of the School Wellness Coalition. Congratulations and a huge thank you to Traci, Jesse and all of the Healthy Beverage Coalition members.
o Supporting School Wellness in Jeffco Schools through the School Wellness Coalition
Kyle Conrad, Cynthia Farrar, and Leslie Feuerborn
Kyle Conrad, Cynthia Farrar, and Leslie Feuerborn are all public health champions for their work on the Jeffco School Wellness Coalition. These champions are also accepting on behalf of everyone who has worked hard all year as part of the Coalition. The School Wellness Coalition focused their efforts on two initiatives this year: improving drinking water access and advocating for water bottle refill stations at schools; and, coordinating efforts to provide safer routes to schools for Jefferson County students.
Kyle Conrad is the Girls Scouts of Colorado North Jefferson County Volunteer Support Specialist. Her work for the Girl Scouts over the past 5 years has included supporting community gardens and bringing local foods into Colorado schools. Her work on the Jeffco Wellness Coalition has included designing and facilitating the creation of a training video now in use at Jeffco Schools that teaches volunteers to assess the availability of drinking water fountains and water bottle refill stations. The video stars girls scouts and has been a valuable resource for the Coalition as it reaches out to schools to do water assessments.
Cynthia Farrar has worked in public and community health settings in the Jefferson County area for over 25 years and has generously brought this experience to the School Wellness Coalition. Cynthia currently provides health education through three Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) School-based Health Centers for children and teens. In addition, she has supervised twelve teams of AmeriCorps members in her work. Cynthia has a breadth of experience with classroom and small group health education and excels at maximizing resources to help students adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. Each year, her programs and staff provide nearly 1,000 classroom education sessions, and she has influenced youth health and safety behaviors for thousands of students in her past 15 years of work in the MCPN School-based Health Centers.
And, Public Health Champion, Leslie Feuerborn is the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Safe Routes to School Program Manager and an active member of the School Wellness Coalition. Leslie has worked in different capacities to encourage healthy eating, active living and injury reduction for almost 40 years in Colorado. Her current work includes guiding communities in building Safe Routes to School coalitions to enable and encourage more school children to walk and bicycle safely to and from school. Leslie has been instrumental in helping the coalition set up goals for a coordinated approach to improving the infrastructure around schools to make walking and wheeling to school safer and more appealing. She has also spearheaded efforts encouraging municipalities to work together to apply for CDOT funding for these important built environment improvements.
Congratulations Kyle, Cynthia, and Leslie for your work supporting school wellness in Jefferson County.
o Improving collaboration among Early Childhood wellness programs in Jefferson County - Patricia Bolton
Patricia Bolton, Executive Director of the Triad Early Childhood Council is a champion for her work improving the health of children through the Early Childhood Council serving Jefferson, Clear Creek, and Gilpin counties and the newly formed Health in Early Childhood Collaborative. Pat has worked in the early care and education field for more than 30 years and is also Director of Child Care Innovations at Red Rocks Community College. In this capacity, she manages programs that include a variety of early childhood education training and support initiatives, child care subsidies for families in crisis, and child care licensing. As Executive Director of the Triad Early Childhood Council, Pat works to increase quality, access, and quality of early childhood services across the domains of early learning, health, mental health, and family support.
In 2015, Pat collaborated with Jefferson County Public Health and the University of Colorado to develop the Healthy Preschool Partnership. This partnership aims to increase reach and sustainability of evidence -based practices to improve nutrition and increase physical activity in licensed childcare facilities with a focus on working with low-income facilities. Pat has been a critical partner and supporter in the development of the Health in Early Childhood Collaborative and has provided the infrastructure to house this group within the TRIAD Early Childhood Council. Pat truly understands the impact the social determinants of health have on early childhood and works with families to address the whole family system and its psychosocial well-being. Pat is also an ordained minister and former registered nurse. Her extensive work in the early care and education field has included operation of a licensed family childcare home, serving as president of state and local family childcare associations, as well as involvement on local, state, and national task forces, advisory committees, and boards. Thank you and congratulations Pat on being a 2015 Public Health Champion for your work improving the health of so many of Jefferson County’s children.
o Supporting the Creation of a Coalition to Connect Preventive Care and Behavioral Health Resources in Jefferson County
Corina Lindley, Monica Buhlig and Carol Salzmann
Next, we would like to highlight partners instrumental in the creation of our newest Jeffco Community Health Improvement Coalition, the Preventive Care & Behavioral Health Resources Coalition. This coalition is working toward documenting and networking care resources throughout the county in order to ensure better access to care for all types of health and wellness needs. This coalition is also planning a county-wide stigma reduction campaign to reduce discrimination against those with behavioral and mental health conditions. Centura Health’s Corina Lindley, Vice President of Community Health and Mission and her colleague Monica Buhlig, Group Director of Community Health Improvement and Lutheran Medical Center’s Carol Salzmann, Vice President of Community Development and Executive Director of Lutheran Medical Center Foundation are 2015 Public Health Champions for helping to make the formation of this coalition possible.
As representatives of the county’s two hospitals, these champions have also worked to coordinate their health assessments and improvement plans with Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network plans and inititatives—and have agreed to continued and expanded coordination in as we all move toward aligning our efforts to improving the community’s access to—and coordination of—care—including both preventive care and behavioral health resources. In addition to their contribution to the Jefferson County Community Health Improvement Plan and the implementation of the Preventive Health and Behavioral Health Resources Coalition, both hospitals are members of the Colorado Healthy Hospital Compact. As such, they are building healthier nutrition environments and have agreed to offer healthy food options to patients and their families, visitors and staff. Congratulations and thank you to Corina Lindley, Monica Buhlig and Carol Salzmann.