Grand County Health and Fitness: What is Public Health?
Public Health is the science and art of preventing disease, improving quality of life and promoting health. The differences between Medical Care and Public Health are considerable. Medical care is primarily curative; Public Health is primarily preventive. Medical care focuses on individuals, while public health focuses on populations. We need medical care some of the time, but we need public health all of the time. In other words, public health is prevention and education, linking all people to needed services to promote and provide a healthy community. Grand County Public Health Nursing Services began 2007 with a pertussis outbreak. We had 16 confirmed cases of pertussis and 16 cases of parapertussis. We enlisted the help of three epidemiologists with the State Health Department to investigate 159 cases. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia was in Grand County for two weeks to help with the investigation. With the availability of the new Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis vaccine (Tdap), we began a campaign to prevent another pertussis outbreak. By mid March, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided Tdap vaccine free to adults. We gave 1568 Tdap vaccines in 2007.We continued to collaborate with Grand County Rural Health Network to plan for future health care in Grand County. The A.C.H.E.S program (Advocacy for Childrens Health & Education Services) provided 70 vouchers to uninsured children under the age of 18 for acute, non-emergent healthcare services. P.A.I.N.S (Partners for Adults in Need of Services) is a new program modeled after the A.C.H.E.S. program that will provide medical vouchers to uninsured adults. P.A.I.N.S. is in the beginning stages and is recruiting a volunteer board. Anyone interested in access to care and/or uninsured issues should contact Brene Belew-LaDue at firstname.lastname@example.orgIn March and April, the School of Dentistry at University Colorado Health Science Center offered free oral screening to all children preschool through 12th grade in both East and West Grand School Districts with 349 children participating. In May, July and October, the School of Dentistry at University Colorado Health Science Center brought their traveling SmileMakers dental van to Grand County. Of those 349 children screened, 181 received services in 302 visits to the van. In collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics, a mobile medical van was brought to Grand County in June, July, August, October and November, seeing 98 children and providing an estimated $20,000 in care.In 2007, Colorado launched the What if Colorado Campaign to educate the public about emergency preparedness. Grand County Public Health participated by holding auditions for the What if Colorado Reality TV Show. We auditioned people at the Alpine Art Affair in Winter Park, at the Farmers Market in Granby and at Middle Park Fair in Kremmling. We also distributed information about the pandemic flu and emergency preparedness. In August 2007, we were called on to issue a health advisory in response to the toxic algae in Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir. We were informed that the microscopic toxin levels had risen higher than previously measured and had for the first time exceeded the World Health Organization levels for safe consumption. A multi-agency, multi-discipline task force was formed immediately to deal with the potential health threat.On Nov. 17, 2007, we participated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a statewide Point of Distribution mass immunization practice. We held our Mass Flu Clinic at Middle Park High School, practicing the Incident Command System. We gave 805 free flu shots over 4 hours with the help of Grand County Office of Emergency Management (GCOEM), law enforcement Grand County EMS, volunteers and regional support staff from Routt and Jackson counties. We continue to work on emergency preparedness in collaboration with GCOEM and others to update and find better solutions for protecting and mitigating emergencies.In 2007, we offered for the first time the human papillomavirus vaccine for protection against cervical cancer. The community responded positively to the new vaccine and we gave 341 doses in 2007. Grand County Public Health and Nursing Service offers this vaccine only to girls between 9 and 18 years of age.We have a new satellite WIC clinic in the Kremmling Extension Hall in addition to Fraser and our Hot Sulphur clinic. Our WIC clinic is budgeted for 130 clients, and our 2007 average is 147, with an August high of 159. 858 clients have received counseling, education, referrals, and advocacy through this Gateway program. We have worked with 60 High Risk pregnant women, and 52 High Risk infants in WIC. We have seen 74 prenatal clients for pregnancy tests, prenatal counsel and education, referral to affordable prenatal care, Medicaid and Emergency Medicaid applications. We visited 30 of our newborns at home, and provided 96 breastfeeding consultations. Our office is part of Grand County Government with the Board of County Commissioners acting as the Board of Health. The county manager and the Board of County Commissioners have been great supporters of our staff, our mission and commitment to the health of Grand County. Our mission:We are dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and well-being of Grand County communities, families, and individualsOur vision:Through partnerships and collaboration, Grand County Public Health Nursing Service will lead our community to find innovative and dynamic solutions for a healthier present and future Grand CountyOur Motto:We never stop trying to protect your healthIf you want more information about the services we provide, please call Grand County Public Health Nursing Service at (970) 725-3288.
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