The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners on March 28 read and signed a proclamation, recognizing National Public Health Week on April 3–9, and celebrating the contribution of Arapahoe County Public Health since it opened earlier this year.
Nationally, Public Health Week’s theme is “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health.” Commissioners highlighted the Public Health department’s intentional administration of services in an equitable manner that engages and celebrates our residents' unique perspectives and experiences.
“I continue to be in awe with how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time,” said Jennifer Ludwig, director of Arapahoe County Public Health. “Public Health Week is a great opportunity to say thank you to all the public health professionals in Arapahoe County that work so hard to keep our communities healthy.”
In the three short months since opening, Arapahoe County Public Health has focused on providing for the unique needs and culture of a single county. Specifically, they have begun a process that will culminate in the development of a Community Health Improvement Plan, obtained new grants to expand harm reduction services, and ensured that thousands of businesses can continue to operate safely:
Community Health Improvement Plan
The Community Health Improvement Plan is a multi-year plan to improve the health in our communities. The plan’s creation includes community engagement and relationship building to help identify local priorities and strengths. A Community Health Assessment, created in 2022, is being used as a foundation to create a Health Improvement Plan that features concreate, measurable action steps to ensure impact and accountability.
“As a new health department, we are dedicating significant time this year to engaging with the community in places where convenings are already occurring and working to deeply listen and understand local priorities to ensure that our upcoming plan is broadly owned and reflective of those assets and needs,” said Heather Baumgartner, Director of Partnerships, Planning, and Community Health Promotion.
Arapahoe County Public Health has recently been awarded grants for additional harm reduction efforts, which use an evidenced-based approach aimed at reducing health and social harms associated with substance use. The grants will provide tools and treatment for people who are at-risk for drug overdose, including a new mobile unit.
“We’re looking at expanding community outreach and education to Englewood and Sheridan and along the Santa Fe corridor,” said Taylor Roberts, Community Health Promotion Supervisor. “We are working with our partners to achieve as much community saturation with harm reduction strategies as we can.”
Local public health departments are responsible for annually licensing certain businesses, including retail food establishments and body art facilities. Since opening in January, Arapahoe County Public Health has invoiced 56 body art facilities and approximately 2,310 retail food establishments for re-licensure.
“License revenue helps to offset the expense of staff time within the Food Program,” said Dylan Garrison, Environmental Health Manager. “In addition, an annual license helps ensures industry accountability and promotes food safety through routine health inspections.”
Arapahoe County Public Health welcomes people of all ages; ethnicities; genders and gender identities/expressions; sexual orientations; languages spoken, nationalities and cultures, physical, mental, and developmental abilities; races; religions; and socio-economic, insurance, and immigration statuses. To learn more about services, visit arapahoegov.com/health or call 303-795-HLTH (4584).