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    2012 Public Health Champions of the Year


    2012 Public Health Champions of the Year
    Jefferson County, Colorado

    Jefferson County, Colorado--Public Health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our communities. Each year, during National Public Health Week, April 1-7, 2013, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) honors some of the many people it works with throughout the year that help to make our county healthy. While they may not have made public health their profession, the work they do, the partnerships they provide and their enthusiasm for protecting the health of Jefferson County residents makes them the 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year. An award ceremony hosted by JCPH, the Jefferson County Board of Health and the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Jefferson County Administration and Courts Building, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, in the Lookout Mountain Room. JCPH is pleased to announce the following 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year:

    • Reducing and Preventing Childhood Poverty and Hunger, Carole Sue Frickel

    Carole Sue Frickel is a longtime advocate for children at risk for poverty and food insecurity in the community. Her unique experience as a former Jeffco Public Schools speech and language specialist, as well as her unending energy, compassion and vision, uniquely position her as a leader to connect people and efforts to reduce and prevent childhood poverty and hunger in Jeffco. Carole Sue has been a contributing member to the Wheat Ridge “Feed the Future Backpack Program” for many years. She assists in coordinating volunteers to pack and distribute food at Kullerstrand Elementary school for the Feed the Future Program. This program provides food items to kids and families most in need in the Kullerstrand community.

    Carole Sue is also intent on ensuring kids have access to food over the summer months when they are not in school. During the spring and summer months, she works to support a cohesive and comprehensive Summer Feeding Program in Wheat Ridge by working with Wheat Ridge City staff, Hunger Free Colorado, Jeffco Public Schools, LiveWell Wheat Ridge and other community based organizations. An excellent example is her partnership with Jefferson Avenue United Methodist Church to support a community based summer feeding program assuring the families surrounding the church have access to food. By partnering with Dan Odell, pastor of the church, they partnered with Food Bank of the Rockies and Hunger Free Colorado to implement a feeding program that provided not just food but enrichment activities to all who accessed the program.

    Carole Sue Frickel is a 2012 Public Health Champion of the Year for her energy, compassion and tireless commitment to children. Congratulations and thank you Carole Sue Frickel.

    • Protecting Jefferson County’s Groundwater for Generations to Come, Ron DiDonato

    Ron DiDonato, owner of RCD Construction has been installing individual sewage disposal systems in Jefferson County for over 20 years, primarily in the Indian Hills area. He can tell you how important it is that these systems meet the highest standards for design and installation in order to protect the community’s groundwater resources. Groundwater, the water beneath the surface in rocks and soil, the water that collects in aquifers throughout the county, is many times the same water that comes out of the tap for drinking and cooking. Ron DiDonato has worked to keep that water safe and free of contaminants in Indian Hills by doing his best when installing Individual disposal systems. The Indian Hills community has some groundwater contamination issues because Indian Hills is located in the fractured bedrock area of the County, meaning there are increased potential for contaminants, such as nitrates to directly impact the groundwater. Mr. DiDonato’s ISDS installations have included the latest in wastewater treatment technology. In addition to typical components such as septic tanks and absorption beds, Ron sees to it that the additional pumps, motors and control panels are properly installed to assure that the system will work as intended and will produce the improved wastewater quality so crucial to protecting the fragile groundwater environment. Ron has made a career out of doing this important job very well and is a 2012 Public Health Champion for his efforts. Ron also recently demonstrated his heavy-equipment handling skills by winning the “Roe-d-Hoe” event during the Colorado Professionals in Onsite Wastewater (CPOW) annual conference. The dedicated professionalism of Public Health Champion, Ron DiDonato has improved onsite wastewater disposal in Jefferson County and protected the groundwater resources for the many citizens who rely on it for their drinking water. Congratulations and thank you Ron. 

    • Preventing Pertussis and Other Vaccine Preventable Diseases among Jefferson County’s Children, Jeffco Public Schools Health Services Director, Linda Buzard and Coordinator, Margaret Huffman

     
    Jeffco Public Schools and its Health Services Division play a key role in promoting the health and safety of children throughout the County. In 2012, the Health Services Division teamed up with JCPH to prevent the spread of pertussis or “whooping cough” in our communities. Health Service Director, Linda Buzard, and Health Services Coordinator, Margaret Huffman are 2012 public health champions for their dedication and hard work assuring that Jefferson County’s school age children are up-to-date on immunizations. 2012 brought increased cases of pertussis disease in the County and across the state of Colorado. As pertussis threatened the lives of some of our most vulnerable populations, the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, these two women made it their mission to protect children through immunization.

    Linda Buzard has been a champion for improving immunization rates and preventing spread of communicable disease in the school district for many years. Her support of school nurse and public health nurse communication and collaboration is phenomenal and sets a very positive professional role model for her school nurses. This year, Linda was instrumental in getting Jeffco Schools to participate in the Colorado Immunization Information System. This system is designed to increase and sustain high immunization coverage rates by consolidating immunization records from multiple providers. She also selected JCPH Immunization Program as the recipient of community partnership funds to increase and enhance immunization services for all Jefferson County children. Linda invited JCPH public health nurses to present to school nurses at their district wide meetings and she also included the public health nurses in a celebration of Public School Nurses’ Week.

    Health Service’s Coordinator, Margaret Huffman is also a public health champion for her work preventing pertussis and other vaccine preventable diseases in the County. This past year, Margaret committed countless hours meeting with JCPH Immunization Program nurses to identify barriers to immunization for students in at-risk schools. Her commitment to developing strategies and solutions and sharing resources in order to increase immunization rates for these populations is to be commended. In addition, Margaret’s responsiveness, openness to ideas and dialogue, and her positive and congenial demeanor have made her an ideal community partner and catalyst for action.

    There is no question that these two public health champions, Linda Buzard and Margaret Huffman, have improved immunization rates among Jeffco school age children and reduced the spread of pertussis in the county. Jefferson County Public Health congratulates you on being 2012 Public Health Champions of the Year and thanks you for your contribution to public health in Jefferson County.

    • Reducing Tobacco’s Toll through Community Coalitions: Breathe Easy Wheat Ridge Coalition representatives: Sarah Davis, Chair and members, Lynnette Namba and Dr. Lorrie Odom; Healthy Unincorporated Jeffco Coalition Chair, John Coles; and, BE Team student representatives: Lakewood High School senior, Carissa Leeper and Golden High School graduates, Hannah Fritz and Beau Hogan.


    Community coalitions play a huge role in the battle against tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and through the first hand experiences of JCPH Tobacco Prevention Program staff, coalitions help transform the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of tobacco users and nonusers by changing the way tobacco is promoted, sold, and used. Through advocacy and education, tobacco prevention coalitions play a critical role in exposing the tobacco industry’s predatory marketing tactics as well as, in mobilizing communities to develop and implement policies and programs.

    This year’s public health champions for tobacco prevention represent two community coalitions, Breathe Easy Wheat Ridge and Healthy Unincorporated Jeffco and two youth coalitions, the Breathe Easy teams at Lakewood High School and Golden High School. These 2012 Public Health Champions all played key roles in their communities advancing important tobacco prevention and control work.

    The Breathe Easy Wheat Ridge Coalition, represented by Sarah Davis, Lynnette Namba and Dr. Lorrie Odom helped with community awareness and outreach and worked to educate local policymakers on the issue of secondhand smoke and the benefits of stronger smoke-free public places laws. The members of Healthy Unincorporated Jeffco, represented by Chair, John Coles, worked to build community support for a stronger smoke-free law in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County. The coalition successfully doubled the number of residents who signed endorsements for comprehensive smoke-free protections in their community. The youth coalitions, Breathe Easy Teams at Golden and Lakewood High Schools, worked diligently to support the passing of 2 local ordinances during 2012. Golden’s BE Team, represented by graduates Hannah Fritz and Beau Hogan successfully advocated for an ordinance reducing youth access to tobacco. The Golden ordinance requires licensing of tobacco retailers and proof of identification for all tobacco purchases, regardless of customer age for non-cigarette tobacco. The ordinance also requires that clerks selling non-cigarette tobacco be at least 18 years old.

    Lakewood’s BE Team, represented by senior, Carissa Leeper successfully advocated for a stronger smoke-free ordinance in their community of Lakewood. The Lakewood ordinance extends smoke-free entranceways to 25 feet and requires that all outdoor transit waiting areas, playgrounds, athletic fields and gathering places in parks and city events be smoke-free. These seven tobacco prevention Public Health Champions have helped to reduce the toll of tobacco on our communities and helped to shape tobacco-free norms, making tobacco not only less desirable and less acceptable but also less accessible. Congratulations to all of the community coalitions working on tobacco prevention and control in Jefferson County.

    Community coalitions play a huge role in the battle against tobacco. According to the , and through the first hand experiences of JCPH Tobacco Prevention Program staff, coalitions help transform the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of tobacco users and nonusers by changing the way tobacco is promoted, sold, and used. Through advocacy and education, tobacco prevention coalitions play a critical role in exposing the tobacco industry’s predatory marketing tactics as well as, in mobilizing communities to develop and implement policies and programs. This year’s public health champions for tobacco prevention represent two community coalitions, Breathe Easy Wheat Ridge and Healthy Unincorporated Jeffco and two youth coalitions, the Breathe Easy teams at Lakewood High School and Golden High School. These 2012 Public Health Champions all played key roles in their communities advancing important tobacco prevention and control work. The Breathe Easy Wheat Ridge Coalition, represented by Sarah Davis, Lynnette Namba and Dr. Lorrie Odom helped with community awareness and outreach and worked to educate local policymakers on the issue of secondhand smoke and the benefits of stronger smoke-free public places laws. The members of Healthy Unincorporated Jeffco, represented by Chair, John Coles, worked to build community support for a stronger smoke-free law in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County. The coalition successfully doubled the number of residents who signed endorsements for comprehensive smoke-free protections in their community. The youth coalitions, Breathe Easy Teams at Golden and Lakewood High Schools, worked diligently to support the passing of 2 local ordinances during 2012. Golden’s BE Team, represented by graduates Hannah Fritz and Beau Hogan successfully advocated for an ordinance reducing youth access to tobacco. The Golden ordinance requires licensing of tobacco retailers and proof of identification for all tobacco purchases, regardless of customer age for non-cigarette tobacco. The ordinance also requires that clerks selling non-cigarette tobacco be at least 18 years old. Lakewood’s BE Team, represented by senior, Carissa Leeper successfully advocated for a stronger smoke-free ordinance in their community of Lakewood. The Lakewood ordinance extends smoke-free entranceways to 25 feet and requires that all outdoor transit waiting areas, playgrounds, athletic fields and gathering places in parks and city events be smoke-free. These seven tobacco prevention Public Health Champions have helped to reduce the toll of tobacco on our communities and helped to shape tobacco-free norms, making tobacco not only less desirable and less acceptable but also less accessible. Congratulations to all of the community coalitions working on tobacco prevention and control in Jefferson County.

    • Advocating for Healthy Eating and Active Living, Tara Jahn

    As a resident of Wheat Ridge, Tara Jahn is deeply invested in a range of community building activities through her ongoing involvement with Live Local (Wheat Ridge), a grassroots initiative of Wheat Ridge 2020 started by Ms. Jahn and other Wheat Ridge partners in 2012. Tara’s work advocating for active living and sustainable, local food systems has provided leadership, compassion, and energy while making Wheat Ridge a more vibrant community.

    Wheat Ridge Mayor, Jerry DiTullio had this to say about this 2012 Public Health Champion of the Year, “Tara Jahn is a relatively new face in Wheat Ridge, but she has jumped in with both feet to promote a healthy life style and to promote her new hometown of Wheat Ridge. As the Mayor of Wheat Ridge and as a longtime resident, I congratulate Tara on this well-deserved recognition. Live Local is a unique approach to support healthy communities AND local businesses at the same time. This is the type of community building of the future."

    Tara understands how making physical activity fun can get more people moving. Through Live Local Active, Tara helped organize a run club that meets regularly, a variety of active and social summertime events, and most recently, a Winter Fitness Challenge that involves yoga, pilates, and group runs. She also hosted a family yoga event in a public park and organized group bike rides. Several of the events include stops at and patronage of local businesses. Community members gain exposure to local restaurants, shops, and studios they might never have visited before and businesses have a chance to build up their clientele.

    She also truly understands how to encourage healthy eating and sustainable, local food systems. Through her work with Live Local Harvest, she helped organize a produce exchange last summer among local growers and most recently a Food and Film potluck series. The first dinner and film event brought together over 60 people from within and around the Wheat Ridge community to learn more about its growing local food system. The second event hosted nearly 100 participants, many of them attending for the first time.

    In addition, as a member of the Wheat Ridge 38th Avenue Leadership Committee, Tara has worked to support a more economically vibrant and healthy downtown through a variety of strategies. She has played a leadership role in supporting the roadway redesign of 38th Avenue that fosters a safer and more pedestrian-friendly environment while supporting patronage of local businesses.

    Tara’s work supporting a more livable, healthy and economically vibrant sector of Wheat Ridge makes her a 2012 Public Health Champion of the year. Congratulations and thank you Tara Jahn.



    Nancy Braden
    Public Health Communications
    303-239-7137
    nbraden@jeffco.us

    March 19, 2013


    Last Updated: 6-5-2013