Monday, April 3, 2017

Immunizations save lives

This April, make sure you and your family are up to date on your immunizations. April 23-29 is World Immunization Week and National Infant Immunization Week is April 22-29.

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Learn more about NIIW(

Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined together to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities and public health.
But it’s not just infants and children that benefit from vaccination. Without the proper immunization, adults are also at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases, which can cause serious illness, hospitalization, disability and in some cases, death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
To learn more about immunization rates in Colorado, view the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Immunization Rates and Data web page. JCPH urges everyone to be sure they and their children have the vaccinations they need. 

  • Please call 303-239-7078 to schedule an immunization clinic visit at our Lakewood clinic. 
  • For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit

Beat the Buzz – prevent mosquito-borne diseases like Zika

Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world because of the diseases they spread. Among these is Zika virus, a disease that is mostly spread by infected mosquitoes of the Aedes species. These particular mosquitoes bite both day and night and are located only in certain parts of the world — including some states in the U.S. 
Zika can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus or through sex with a person infected with the virus. 

The best way to prevent Zika — as well as other serious illnesses — is to prevent mosquito bites. 

Watch the video below to learn more: 

Tips to Beat the Buzz and prevent the mosquito bites include:

-Wear long sleeves outdoors

-Use an insect  repellent with an active ingredient approved by the Centers for Disease Control.

-Hang mosquito netting around cribs and beds.

-Treat clothing with an insect-repellent.

-If traveling to areas where Zika has been confirmed, follow as many guidelines as possible to prevent mosquito bites.

-If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, avoid traveling to areas with Zika.
- If you or a partner has travelled to areas where Zika has been confirmed, practice safe sex. Use latex condoms, the right way, every time, or choose not to have any type of sex with a partner who has been in an area with Zika.

View the JCPH Zika resource page for more tips and information. For more information on animal-borne diseases, please contact our Zoonosis Program at

303-271-5700 or

Edgewater WIC Clinic Moves to 7495 W, 29th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

Jefferson County Public Health announced today that it will be moving its Edgewater WIC clinic on Thursday, April 6 and Friday, April 7, 2017 to its new location at the Jeffco Family Health Services Center, 7495 W. 29th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.  The clinic will be open and available to clients on Monday, April 10, 2017 at the new location.  Jefferson County Public Health also has WIC clinic sites in Lakewood, 645 Parfet Street, Lakewood, CO 80215 and in Arvada, 5150 Allison St, Arvada, CO 80002.

“We are thrilled to be collocating with the Jeffco Family Health Services Center” said JCPH Community Nutrition Manager Kylie Harrison, “Our WIC participants will now have the option to receive medical, dental, mental health and care coordination services along with their WIC benefits, all at the same location.”
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, prescriptions for healthy food, health referrals and other services free of charge to Colorado families who qualify. WIC’s goal is to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under age 5 healthy.
WIC is for all kinds of families: married and single parents, working or not working.  If you are a father, mother, grandparent, foster parent or other legal guardian of a child under 5, you can apply for WIC. In Jefferson County, please call 303-271-5780 and join WIC today.
We apologize for any inconvenience this move may cause and will do our best to minimize any disruptions to services provided.  Stay tuned for any updates at

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month - Make early childhood health a priority

More than 700,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in the U.S. in 2014, the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control. In the same year, more than 1,500 children died due to abuse and neglect.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and a time to acknowledge the important things communities and families can do to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Public health agencies, like JCPH, work to stop child maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, before it occurs. In doing this, national, state and local public health programs promote the development of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments between children and their parents or caregivers. Children's experiences are defined through their environments (such as homes, schools, and neighborhoods) and relationships with parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Healthy relationships act as a buffer against adverse childhood experiences and are necessary to ensure the long-term physical and emotional well-being of children. 

The first years of a child's life are some of the most important in terms of cognitive, social and physical development. Early experiences occurring when a child's brain and behavior are being shaped affect a child's ability to learn, to get along with others, and to develop an overall state of well-being. Unfortunately, not all children have the same positive experiences or opportunities, which can lead to disparities. Social, economic and environmental factors have been closely linked to health disparities.  

Research suggests that many disparities in overall health and well-being are rooted in early childhood. For example, those who lived in poverty as young children are more at-risk for leading causes of illness and death, and are more likely to experience poor quality of life. This growing problem costs the United States billions of dollars annually.

That’s why Jefferson County Public Health is hosting three screenings of “The Raising of America,” a documentary on early childhood health and the things community members can do to help the youngest among us. The first two screening took place the first weekend of April, and the third will be from 5-7 p.m. April 17 at the Golden Library. RSVP at
The documentary film series 
“The Raising of America” chronicles how a strong, healthy and supportive start for all children leads to better individual outcomes and to healthier, safer and more prosperous and equitable communities. 

 “‘The Raising of America’ changes the way we look at early child health and development,” said Sophia Yager, Jefferson County Public Health nurse program manager and lead for the Health in Early Childhood Collaborative. “Jefferson County can only benefit from considering how to best support its youngest residents and their families. Through these viewings, we hope to start those conversations.”

To learn more about “The Raising of America” and watch a trailer for the documentary, go to

Jefferson County Public Health’s home visitation programs such as Prenatal Plus, Nurse Family Partnership and the Family Collaboration Programs as well as its HEAL in Early Childhood and Clinic Services provide the support necessary to keep children and their families healthy.  The Community Health Services Division implements evidence-based prevention strategies to reduce health disparities and promote health equity to positively impact later health, well-being, education and productivity and self-sufficiency.

WATCH THIS VIDEO to learn more!

This Earth Day, focus on education

On Earth Day this year, April 22, take time to think about the environment and climate.
This year’s Earth Day focus is on environmental and climate literacy. The Earth Day Network is offering toolkits to help community members hold events and “Teach-ins” about the importance of climate change awareness, advocating for environmental education in schools and encouraging individuals to take action in their communities.

Climate change, and its impacts on health, have been widely recognized in the public health community. The American Public Health Association declared 2017 the Year of Climate Change and Health, and is dedicated to educating the public on just what a changing world means for them and their families.

"If anyone doesn't think this is a severe problem, they are fooling themselves," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjami, in the Washington Post.

Water quality and availability, insect-borne diseases and the health impacts of extreme weather events are among the top public health issues regarding climate change.

A recent report from CNN also detailed the lasting impacts climate change has not only on physical health, but on mental health, too. With climate projections predicting an increase in severe weather events, like flooding, heat waves, wildfires, droughts and large storms, the mental and emotional impact of the environment is expected to grow. In the article, British psychologist James Rubin said the impact of climate on mental health needs to be given attention.

“There are a whole host of stressors around (flooding),” said Rubin, whose research centered around the impact of floods. “Preventing (climate change) from happening, from worsening and intervening is really important.”

To learn more about the impact of climate change on health, watch the videos from the national Climate and Health Meeting in Atlanta, Ga., in February. The conference was hosted by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, APHA, The Climate Reality Project, Harvard Global Health Institute and the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment with support from the Turner Foundation and other organizations.

Celebrate National Public Health Week — April 3-9, 2017 — by learning more about JCPH

From immunizations to restaurant inspections, from early childhood health to emergency preparedness, the programs at Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) affect our communities each day.

That’s why we celebrated National Public Health Week from April 3-9, 2017. It’s a chance to tell you about all the ways we can serve you and your family, and an opportunity to make a difference.

The theme for 2017 National Public Health Week is “Healthiest Nation 2030,” and is based around The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) goal to cultivate the healthiest nation in the world in just one generation. Jefferson County Public Health is joining the APHA in this goal by advocating for healthy and equitable policies, the power of prevention, successful community partnerships and the importance of a strong public health system.

Each day this week, JCPH we shared videos on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel to highlight some of the programs and people that work to keep our communities healthy and safe. We encourage all members of the community to celebrate National Public Health Week by engaging with us on social media and sharing the ways public health makes a difference in their lives using the hashtag #JCPH.

Here's the link to our YouTube channel where you can find our videos:

Other ways to get involved any time of year:

  • Join a local public health coalition. The Healthy Jeffco Network is a partnership of more than 400 community partners in seven coalitions who work to make the county a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. The coalitions include: Active Living, Food Policy, Jeffco Sips Smart, Health in Early Childhood, School Wellness, Preventive Care & Behavioral Health Resources and Jeffco Thrives. Visit Healthy Jeffco’s website to learn more about how to get involved.
  • Attend a screening for The Raising of America. The Raising of America is a documentary that explores how a strong start for all children can lead to a healthier, more equitable America. Healthy Jeffco’s Health in Early Childhood Coalition will host a screening and community discussion about the film from 5-7 p.m. April 17, 2017 at the Golden Library. To RSVP or get more information, go to

  • Get yourself, your family and your pets immunized! From infancy to adulthood, immunizations help prevent serious illness and even death. The Jefferson County Public Health clinic at 645 Parfet Street in Lakewood offers vaccines for the whole family. Remember to take care of furry family members, too — important vaccines, such as the rabies vaccine, are essential to maintaining health and safety for Fido. 

  • Join a local prevention team. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in Colorado. You can help prevent youth tobacco use and support smoke-free environments in your community by joining an action committee such as the Smoke-Free Places Action Committee or the Citizens for a Healthier Lakewood coalition. Learn more about these groups and more by visiting

  • Test the water and air around your home. Keeping your family as healthy as possible starts at home. You can create healthier environments by testing your home for radon gas, testing your well water for contaminants, and more. Learn more about air and water quality at
  • Visit us online at for more information about all our services.

Follow Jefferson County Public Health on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to see behind-the-scenes videos of our programs and keep up with the latest in public health. To learn more about National Public Health Week and ways you can get involved in making a healthier America, go to

Colorado nutrition program teaches gardening to get kids to eat veggies

A nutrition assistance program in Colorado is working to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in children’s diets by teaching them more about gardening, according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The statewide program, called “Cooking up Healthy Options with Plants, launched in March in child care centers and homes supported by the Colorado Child and Adult Food Care Program, a health department program that provides nutrition assistance and education to care programs serving low-income Coloradans.

“The CHOP program provides children experience in growing their own food,” said Tanya O’Connor, nutrition consultant for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Gardening will help these children experience the wonder and bounty of nature while developing healthy eating habits for a lifetime.”

The CHOP program aims to teach children the behaviors that lead to a healthier lifestyle. In Jefferson County, 92 percent of children consume less than the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. One of every three Jefferson County adults consumes less than one serving of fruit each day.

To change this, the CHOP program includes gardening to its nutrition curriculum and encourages participating day care centers and homes to plant gardens.

Learn more about the program here: Cooking up Healthy Options with Plants.
The Jefferson County Food Policy Council aims to increase equitable access to healthy, local and affordable food and support a sustainable community food system. To learn more about the council or become a member, go to

To learn more about WIC, which provides supplemental nutrition to families in Jefferson County, go to

Seventy percent of U.S. workplaces affected by opioid abuse

A report from the National Safety Council (NSC) confirmed that the epidemic of opioid misuse in the country is affecting workplaces nationwide. Seven in 10 workplaces say they’ve seen the impact of opioid abuse on their workforce.

The NSC also found that 71 percent of employers believe opioid abuse is a disease that requires treatment, but 65 percent consider it a firing offense.

"Employers must understand that the most dangerously misused drug today may be sitting in employees' medicine cabinets," Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the safety council, said in a news release. "Even when they are taken as prescribed, prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards on the job. We hope these findings prompt employers to take the lead on this emerging issue so that workplaces can be as safe as possible.”

But more than three-quarters of employers offer no training to workers on opioid abuse and less than 20 percent of employers said they felt extremely prepared to deal with prescription drug use in the workplace. Even fewer felt their employees could spot signs of misuse.

Of the workplaces that require drug testing for all employees, nearly half don’t test for synthetic opioids, like oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl. The survey found that nearly all workplace employment policies lack at least one major element of an effective drug-free workplace policy.

In the U.S., more than 60 percent of overdose deaths involve opioids, and nearly 100 Americans die every day from opioid or heroin use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This death rate has quadrupled since 1999.

Jefferson County Public Health began a syringe access program in 2016 to lessen the impact of the opioid epidemic on the citizens of Jefferson County most at risk. The program, called Points West, allows people who inject drugs to exchange used needles for new ones. Program participants can also access new injection equipment; receive education and counseling on quitting and rehabilitation; testing for diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B and C; and overdose prevention education and medication.

The Lakewood Police Department was honored as a 2016 Public Health Champion for their work in partnership with Points West.

Rabies confirmed in several skunks in Jefferson County - Prevent animal-borne diseases

A skunk collected in Wheat Ridge near Sheridan and 35th Avenue was infected with rabies, according to lab results from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in early March. Though this was the first wild animal in Jefferson County to test positive for rabies this year, several more have been confirmed.

In 2016, 88 animals in Colorado— both wild and domestic — were confirmed rabies positive by the CDPHE laboratory. Ten of those were from Jefferson County. The vast majority of these were wild animals with skunks and bats being the most common.

The public is strongly urged to vaccinate all of their domestic pets and valuable livestock against rabies and to be sure vaccinations are kept up-to-date. Now that rabies has been found in a terrestrial animal within the county, any domestic animal encounter with any wild animal will be treated like an exposure to a rabid animal. Domestic animals with one expired rabies or without any rabies vaccinations will be classified as high risk and be required to undergo a120-day quarantine.

“This rabies case is a good opportunity to remind people that having dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies is an easy and effective way to protect pets and humans from this deadly disease,” said Dave Volkel, Environmental Health Specialist with Jefferson County Public Health’s Zoonosis Program. “We also encourage the owners of horses, cattle and other livestock to consult with their veterinarians regarding rabies vaccination.”

Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals and is nearly always fatal. The virus is shed in the saliva of infected animals. People or animals can get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal or from a rabid animal’s saliva if it comes in contact with their eyes, nose, mouth or open wounds. Immediate medical treatment is required after exposure to an infected animal. Skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons and other wildlife should not be handled or fed to prevent exposure to this virus.

In addition to rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock, here are additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:
CDPHE web site:

  • Avoid contact with any wild animals, especially any that act unusually. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact.
  • Teach children to stay away from all wild animals, stray domestic pets or any dead animals and tell an adult if they are scratched or bitten.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often be out during the day, act aggressively and violently approach people or pets. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
  • Do not let pets roam freely, since this can increase the chance that they could be exposed without your knowledge.
  • Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
  • If a person has been bitten or scratched by a wild mammal, they should wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, seek immediate medical attention and notify their local public health agency. Prompt medical treatment is key to preventing rabies after a possible exposure.
  • Do not feed wild animals, since this reduces their natural fear of humans
  • Do not leave pet food or livestock feed outside or feed more than your outdoor pet will finish in one feeding.
  • For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local animal control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control: 303-271-5070
  • For more information about rabies contact Environmental Health Services Animal Borne Disease Program at 303-232-6301 or visit
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Rabies Data:
Prevent Hantavirus
Spring is also an important time to be aware of Hantavirus, an animal-borne disease that can cause severe and sometimes fatal respiratory disease in humans. When opening up cabins, sheds, buildings and barns and when doing spring cleaning chores, Coloradans can be exposed to dust contaminated with the virus in a mouse-infested area.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado averages about four cases of HPS a year.

JCPH also advises that residents rodent proof their homes by plugging holes and entry points where mice can get inside; eliminating food sources for rodents; and removing abandoned vehicles and wood, brush and junk piles where rodents hide.  

For more information on Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome:

Jefferson County Public Health:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Time to schedule your annual water well checkup!

Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup before the peak water use season begins, according to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

Why is it a good idea to have my water well checked annually?

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water.

“Although water from your well is usually of high quality and safe to drink, without routine testing, you really don’t know what is in the water you are drinking,” said Roy Laws of the Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Services Division. “There are naturally occurring contaminants and human-caused contamination that can impact water quality and your health. To make sure that your water is - and remains - safe to drink, we recommend annual testing for the presence or absence of bacteria and nitrates. Depending on where you live, your routine water test should also screen for other contaminants such as uranium and fluoride.” 

Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance — like good car maintenance — can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. Jefferson County Public Health also recommends you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or when the system is serviced. 

Schedule your annual water well checkup 

Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order. A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:

  • A flow test to determine how much water the well is producing, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
  • A well equipment inspection to assure it’s sanitary and meets local code.
  • A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance and odor. 

Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Health Division also recommends that well owners: 

Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.
Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems and chemical storage areas.

Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.

Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
Jefferson County communities are already being proactive about ground water protections and community input!

INDIAN HILLS— The Indian Hills Water District is in the process of developing a Source Water Protection Plan. This plan identifies the activities that can have an impact on the quantity and quality of water that is available to the district, and identifies the actions that can be taken to protect the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater resources.

BUFFALO CREEK— The Buffalo Creek Water District has completed their Source Water Protection Plan and is beginning the process of implementing the actions recommended by the plan to protect the quality and quantity of their surface and groundwater resources.

COAL CREEK— The Coal Creek Canyon Watershed Partnership hosted a water well and septic system community awareness workshop in 2016 and plans are in the works to host another community workshop in March 2017. In addition to providing homeowners with useful information about caring for and maintaining water wells and septic systems, the Partnership provided a limited number of free well water tests for nitrate and bacteria contamination.

For more information on water well testing, please visit "
our drinking water wells" webpage or call our office at 303-271-5700.

You can also watch 
this video from the National Groundwater Association to learn more about the importance of ground water testing and water quality!

JCPH recognizes the 2016 Public Health Champions of the Year

Each year during National Public Health Week, April 3-9, 2017, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) honors some of the people who work to prevent illness and promote health in our communities.
While they may not have made public health their profession, the work they do, partnerships they provide and their enthusiasm for making health a priority in Jefferson County makes them the 2016 Public Health Champions. 

This year, all the honorees share a common trait: heroism. They are everyday superheroes, like police and firefighters. They provide childcare for low-income families, believe housing should be affordable and healthy and make food safety a top priority. They are business owners that believe in providing a Thanksgiving meal to those in need. 
An award ceremony hosted by JCPH, the Jefferson County Board of Health and the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners was held for these heroes — these champions — 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, 2017 in the Lookout Mountain Room of the Jefferson County Courts and Administration site, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden, CO 80419.
JCPH is pleased to announce the following 2016 Public Health Champions:

Ensuring Safe and Healthy Childcare for Homeless and Low-Income Families 
Susan Dunn — Director, Renaissance Children’s Center 

Renaissance Children’s Center (RCC) in Lakewood is one of the few childcare centers in Jefferson County that primarily serves low-income and homeless families. Susan Dunn, director of RCC, is a Public Health Champion for her work to create a safe, stable and healthy environment for children who may otherwise not have one. 
Research shows that chronic exposure to stressors like food and housing insecurities can have a profoundly negative impact on a child’s overall growth and development. Under Dunn’s leadership, RCC strives to buffer these troubles. Dunn and her staff recognize that sound, appropriate nutrition and opportunities for physical activity in early childhood are key factors in determining lifelong health outcomes. 
Staff and parents converted the grassy area in front of the center into a community garden, which supplies produce for the children’s snack and lunch. The children can take extra produce to share with family. The community-wide “5210 Jeffco” posters — which recommend five fruits and vegetables daily, two or fewer hours of screen time, at least one hour of physical activity and zero sugary beverages— are hung at RCC to educate both parents and children. 
The RCC staff also teaches life skills, manners and problem solving, as these children are more susceptible to learning disabilities, mental illness and other health issues. RCC works in partnership with public health organizations throughout the metro area, including JCPH, Culture of Wellness in Preschools and Go Farm.

Assuring the Safe Dispensing of Medication in a Public Health Emergency and Increasing Access to Immunizations for Children and Teens 
Arvada Fire Protection District’s EMS Chief Dave Mitchell, EMS Captain Robert Putfark and Firefighter/Paramedic Andrew Higgins
Arvada Fire Protection District partnered with JCPH on two important projects in 2016. 
Emergency Medical Services Chief Dave Mitchell worked with the JCPH Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) program to ensure the county is prepared to address and provide medication dispensing in a disaster. Arvada Fire became a dispensing partner and volunteered to test a new process by the EPR program. In just six weeks, Arvada Fire met with JCPH EPR many times, found resources to staff an internal dispensing site and offered to become a site for the community to receive medications in an emergency. These plans were tested during an exercise called Operation Bubble Blast. Without Arvada Fire, this important emergency preparedness activity could not have happened. 

In addition to becoming a partner in preparedness, the Fire Protection District partnered with JCPH for a Shots for Tots and Teens program. Firefighter and paramedic Andrew Higgins approached JCPH with the idea in late 2015. 

Emergency Medical Services Captain Robert Putfark, along with Mitchell and Higgins, engaged in more than six months of planning for the clinics. Along with public health nurses, they provided immunization training to all paramedics, several of whom were at each clinic. Arvada Fire also contributed funds for equipment and prizes for children. 
The firefighters’ and paramedics’ interactions with families were amazing to watch. Anxious children going into the immunization area came out smiling. They made getting immunized a fun and rewarding experience for children, all while supporting their preventive health care. In four clinics held in 2016, nearly 80 clients received about 200 immunizations. 
Throughout both projects, Arvada Fire and these Public Health Champions demonstrated superb attitude, flexibility and community spirit.

Learn more about Operation Bubble Blast here:

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco in Our Communities through Smoke-Free Housing Policies 
Jefferson County Housing Authority’s Henry Wehrdt, Senior Asset Manager, and Leslie Ross, Housing Program Specialist 
On February 1, 2016, subsidized housing property Green Ridge Meadows became smoke and vapor-free. On November 1, 2016, seven more Jefferson County Housing Authority (JCHA) properties did the same. Henry Wehrdt, senior asset manager at JCHA, and Leslie Ross, JCHA housing program specialist, are Public Health Champions for their work to protect the more than 1,200 residents at these properties from the dangers of secondhand smoke and aerosolized emissions from vaporizing devices, like e-cigarettes. 

Wehrdt and Ross worked closely with JCPH’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative to design a resident-engaged process to transition properties to being smoke and vapor-free. Their commitment to supporting all residents in having smoke-free environments is matched by their compassion for the challenges these policies create for people who have smoked for many years and for whom housing insecurity is already a concern. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that prohibiting smoking in subsidized housing can yield annual cost savings of nearly $500 million, with the greatest majority of the savings going toward reducing health care expenses related to smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. This data has helped many housing providers make their buildings and properties smoke-free, many without much concern that residents who can’t or don’t comply will be evicted. 

This wasn’t the case with Wehrdt and Ross at the Jefferson County Housing Authority. They are very familiar with the impact of homelessness, as they serve some of our county’s poorest. They understand the conflicting dilemmas of residents with limited mobility or serious mental illness who have smoked for many years in their apartments, just as they understand the struggles of a family with an asthmatic child or parent with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who suffers because of a neighbor’s smoking. Their primary goal was to find a way to implement a smoke-free policy that supports the people who smoke, helps protect everyone’s health and improves community cohesion and housing stability — and make eviction a last resort. 

Ross and Wehrdt recently attended a resident celebration event, where both residents who do and don’t smoke spoke about the successes of the process and identified opportunities for improvement. According to a post-policy survey, more than 13 percent of the residents who smoke or vape (and took the survey) have quit since the policy went into effect November 1.

Advocating for the Health and Safety of People who Inject Drugs in the County 
Lakewood Police Department — Chief of Police Daniel McCasky, Commander Pat Heffner, Commander Rob Buchan, Sergeant Marc DiRezza, Agent Aaron Lowe, Division Chief Steve Rickels, Commander Randy McNitt and Commander Mike Maestas 

In an effort to decrease HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C transmission and to better address the needs of people who inject drugs, JCPH started the Points West Syringe Access Program in February 2016.

The program allows people who inject drugs to exchange used syringes for new, sterile ones, and provides new injection equipment, low-cost HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C testing and education, as well as referrals to other services and more. 

The Lakewood Police Department’s Chief of Police Daniel McCasky, Commander Pat Heffner, Commander Rob Buchan, Sergeant Marc DiRezza, Agent Aaron Lowe, Division Chief Steve Rickels, Commander Randy McNitt and Commander Mike Maestas are 2016 Public Health Champions for embracing this important cause from the beginning and always being the first to volunteer to help. 

Lakewood Police was the first Jefferson County law enforcement agency to carry Points West cards to hand out to those in need of services and the first to train officers on responding to a suspected opiod overdose and equip officers with naloxone, a life-saving medication that can reverse an opiod overdose. In late 2016, officers were able to reverse several overdoses in the field. 

These champions also helped to create three educational videos — two for officer training and one as a Public Service Annoucement for Points West. Chief McCasky and officers helped design and star in the videos, which are now being widely shared and used among law enforcement and public health agencies in the metro area. 

The Lakewood Police Department is a strong advocate for Points West and continues to find ways to partner with JCPH in addressing the complex needs of people who inject drugs and promoting public health.

Supporting Local Food Access and Increasing Food Security 
GoFarm — award accepted by Eileen Regan, founder and CEO, Kim Massey, program manager of GoFarm to Seniors, and Anna Schott, program manager of GoFarm to Families 

GoFarm is a 2016 Public Health Champion for its work to increase the supply of healthy food available from local sources at an affordable price. 

GoFarm, based in Golden, operates a Local Food Share program. The organization provides assistance to beginning local farmers and connects them to a local market of consumers. Community members can purchase local produce and egg shares for weekly pick-up and know their food was grown locally and sustainably. 

The Local Food Share program supports GoFarm’s grant-funded outreach programs, GoFarm to Families and GoFarm to Seniors, both implemented in 2016. GoFarm to Families supports healthy eating for young children and their families through education and by increasing access and affordability of fresh produce. During the growing season, families at participating preschools can purchase low-cost produce boxes filled with fresh, local fruits and vegetables. The boxes also include family-friendly recipes and information about where the produce was grown. 

GoFarm to Seniors focuses on increasing access to healthy food by providing one-on-one, mobile application assistance for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) enrollment. GoFarm to Seniors also partners with community organizations to increase SNAP eligibility awareness, and promotes healthy eating through cooking demonstrations and food distribution events.

In 2016, GoFarm’s second year of operation, the Local Food Share program supplied more than 150 shareholders local produce. More than 1,100 produce boxes were sold to families at four Jefferson County preschools and more than 100 produce boxes were distributed and eight cooking demonstrations were provided to the residents of two affordable senior housing complexes in Golden. In addition, more than 80 Jeffco seniors were screened for SNAP eligibility in 2016. 

GoFarm accepts SNAP benefits for all of its programs and is a Double Up Food Bucks partner, meaning SNAP customers benefits go twice as far. GoFarm works with community partners such as: Centura Health, Colorado School of Mines, Hunger Free Golden, the Healthy Jeffco Food Policy Council, Health in Early Childhood Collaborative, Jeffco Conservation District and, Jeffco CSU Extension Office.

Assuring Food Safety 
Casa Bonita’s General Manager Mike Mason, Assistant General Manager Peer Osby and Store Manager Rob Hall 

Casa Bonita has a dedicated staff of employees that are innovative, conscientious and diligent in assuring they serve food that is safe for public consumption. The managers have been there for many years and continually think of new ways to promote safe food and solve issues that arise.

Management ensures that every two years, every employee in the establishment takes the Online Food Safety Course from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website. This includes the food handlers, servers, maintenance staff, office employees and management.

They have also developed an internal communication system using cell phones that informs all of the employees of observed violations and an efficient system for correcting the violation immediately. They have shared this system with other restaurants so they can also be more compliant with the Colorado Retail Food Service Regulation. This has led to collaboration with other restaurants to problem solve food safety issues that arise on a day-to-day basis.
 Casa Bonita has been active in attending the JCPH Food Safety Forum for the last five years to learn more about food safety and to share ideas with other attendees. They also participated on the Advisory Committee that helped JCPH launch the Jefferson County Excellence in Food Safety Course, which has has been offered by JCPH’s Environmental Health Services for the last 23 years.

Casa Bonita is a progressive restaurant that is proud to promote food safety and give guests the most pleasant experience possible. They care about their staff and the public, and it shows in how well they perform on their food safety inspections.

Providing Happiness and Thanksgiving for Jefferson County WIC Families 
White Fence Farm’s Volunteer, Liz Breuer, and Owners, Craig Caldwell and Tom Piercy

Approximately 24 percent of households with children in Colorado struggle to afford enough food for themselves and their families.
White Fence Farm, a homestyle-cooking family restaurant, farmhouse and entertainment facility, generously fed more than 100 of the Jefferson County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) participants for free on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

Owners Craig Caldwell and Tom Piercy jumped on the opportunity to help families in need when Liz Breuer, avolunteer, suggested the gift of a free Thanksgiving meal for WIC participants.
Liz knew that the WIC Program serves families who sometimes struggle to have enough food in their homes, especially during the holidays. She contacted JCPH’s WIC clinics and made it happen. WIC participants were very grateful for White Fence Farm’s kindness and for the delicious meal they received.