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Posted on: April 5, 2018

Working Together to Change the Future of Public Health

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During National Public Health Week, JCPH Recognizes Public Health Champions of the Year and Releases 2017 Annual Report


Jefferson County, Colo. — When we look to the future of public health, we see a day when every person has a chance at the best health possible. All parents have the tools they need to raise a healthy family. Healthy foods are available and accessible for everyone, and fewer people are exposed to food-borne illnesses. Parks and neighborhoods are vibrant and safe. And problems like alcohol use and tobacco use are less prevalent among our youth.  

To celebrate National Public Health Week (April 2-8, 2018), Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) recognizes the 2017 Public Health Champions of the Year. These Champions are individuals, groups and organizations across many communities and sectors who are helping achieve the best health possible for everyone in Jefferson County — even though public health isn’t their primary profession.

“To achieve the best health possible, we must look beyond the surface and tackle the underlying causes of poor health and disease risk,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director at JCPH. “Those causes are rooted in how and where we live, learn, work and play — and it takes all sectors working together to truly make a difference.”

JCPH is pleased to announce the following 2017 Public Health Champions of the Year. Champions were recognized at an award ceremony hosted by JCPH, the Jefferson County Board of Health and the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners on April 4, 2018.

Alicia Gross, Founder of Teen MOPS at Faith Bible Chapel, Arvada
As a teen mom, Alicia experienced the importance of a strong support system firsthand. After participating in a support group for teen moms in Denver, Alicia recognized the need for a similar group closer to her community. Alicia soon started her own group, Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada. The group gives young moms an opportunity to meet in a safe, positive environment and engage in discussions on topics important to them — with a goal to help young women raise healthy and thriving children. Teen MOPS at Faith Bible Chapel continues to grow, and many JCPH programs refer young women to the group.

Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market, Wheat Ridge
Four Seasons, owned by Dick and Margaret Barkey and managed by Rosalind May, is a year-round market in Wheat Ridge offering local, healthy foods. In partnership with JCPH, Four Seasons accepts SNAP — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as food stamps — as well as the Double Up Food Bucks program to help SNAP participants get free fruits and vegetables. For many Coloradans, it can be a challenge to afford enough food for the month, let alone afford local, healthy food. Four Seasons created an inclusive communal space where SNAP participants can feel welcomed and valued, and are empowered to eat more healthy, local produce.

Michael Klazura, General Manager of Olive Garden, Lakewood
Michael goes above and beyond to ensure the restaurant he manages receives regular food safety education (in English and Spanish) and that staff adheres to safe practices, which protect the public’s health every day. His influence goes far beyond his own restaurant. Michael has also become a go-to resource for other Olive Garden locations, and has partnered with JCPH food safety inspectors to provide to bi-annual food safety education to Olive Gardens throughout the entire county.

Alexis Moore, City Planner, City of Lakewood
Alexis has advanced public health by helping to develop the 40 West Arts District — creating an area full of interactive art, murals and walking trails, and improving quality of life for residents in West Colfax and surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, Alexis helped form a partnership with Mountair Park Community Farm to help residents access healthy foods through food donation programs and free local food shares. Alexis has been instrumental in bringing funding to the area with grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, Community Development Block Grants, Colorado Department of Transportation, the National Endowment for the Arts and Regional Transportation District.

Monica Buhlig, St. Anthony Hospital — Centura Health and Chuck Ault, Lutheran Medical Center — SCL Health
For the past two years, JCPH, St. Anthony Hospital and Lutheran Medical Center have been working together to develop a joint Community Health Needs Assessment for Jefferson County. This endeavor would not have been possible without Monica and Chuck — they have identified innovative ways to collaborate across public/private sectors, reduce duplication of efforts and build increased momentum and capacity to achieve shared success in community health improvement. As representatives of hospital entities, which are traditionally focused on improving patient-centered health outcomes, it has been a courageous leap for them to embrace methods for improving population health at large.

David Kollar, Jeffco Public Schools
David is a long-time partner with JCPH and avid supporter of local public health initiatives for Jeffco students. Most recently, David has been an integral partner in the development of Jefferson County Communities That Care (CTC), a structured, evidence-based community change process focused on preventing youth substance abuse, violence and depression. As co-chair of the CTC Community Board, David represents the youth voice and helps engage students in the CTC process.

2017 Annual Report
While we recognize our community partners during National Public Health Week, this observance is also an exciting time to reflect on and celebrate JCPH’s accomplishments over the past year. We are pleased to release our 2017 Annual Report, “Achieving the Best Health Possible for All People.” The report showcases important work across JCPH, including how we are working to tackle health inequities to help everyone achieve the best health possible. Read the full report at https://www.jeffco.us/2067/Annual-Reports, or contact Ashley Moore at [email protected] to request a printed copy.

About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan through prevention, education and partnerships for all people. To learn more about JCPH, visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.

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