This is National Public Health week.
The 2010 theme Building a Healthier America, One Community at a Time" envisions a place where everyone has access to
health care and services, where healthy lifestyles are embraced and our communities make it easy to make healthy
This closely reflects the mission of San Juan Basin Health Department. Through our varied programs and community
collaborations, we work toward making Southwest Colorado healthier for everyone. Yet many community members may not
know what we do to prevent disease and promote good health.
Can you complete this sentence? Public health is ..."
If you have kids in school, you might answer that public health is about providing childhood immunizations. We do. This
month we're even in the schools, offering parents a convenient opportunity to bring their children up to date on
required vaccinations before next school year and get other recommended immunizations at low cost.
Or if you know our dental program, Southwest Smile Makers, you might say public health is ensuring access to dental
care for all children in our community. Smile Makers is currently visiting elementary schools conducting its annual
preventive screenings, education and referrals.
If you are a parent with a child who you suspect has special needs or is already diagnosed, you know us as providing
regular pediatric specialty clinics and resources for you as parents, including workshops like the one to be held April
If you need a sewage-disposal system, you know public health as the agency requiring a system that protects water
quality. Or maybe you like to eat out now that spring weather is here. You may or may not think about whether the food
is safe to eat. Public Health helps ensure it is through inspections and providing food safety classes.
If you're elderly and need assistance to remain in your home, you know our home health programs.
If you need prenatal care and can't afford it or are a young adult worried about a sexually transmitted disease or
having access to birth control, you'd know we're about ensuring that these services are available to everyone.
If you are a Latino, you might see public health as our Promoviendo La Salud program, which uses providers fluent in
Spanish to help you and your family make healthier decisions about diet and exercise or screen for and manage chronic
If you like being outside in the summer, you may be more aware of how to prevent rabies, West Nile Virus, hantavirus or
skin cancer because of educational efforts by public health. Or, if you're a driver, perhaps you know public health as
promoting seat-belt use and avoiding dangerous driving distractions.
Hopefully, you now have more ideas about completing the sentence Public health is ..." With these and our other
services, we're working with you, our community, to build a healthier America.
To celebrate Public Health Week, we invite you to visit our Web site at www.sjbhd.org to find out more and sign up for
our e-newsletter by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Looney is the Communications Director
for San Juan Basin Health Department.