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Improving Community Health Beyond COVID-19

It has been a busy year and a half for public health to say the least. The community at large has learned a lot about the role of public health from our response to the pandemic. As San Juan Basin Public Health’s emergency response team worked tirelessly to protect our community, other essential public health programs were moving their offices to their homes and evaluating how they were going to adapt to the drastic change of working virtually.

Adapting and being innovative allowed our ongoing programs to continue serving our clients in the community and helping them achieve their best health. These programs staffed with nurses, a dental hygienist, nutritionists and care coordinators, work one-on-one with clients to connect them to the educational health resources they need. Over the past year, the ongoing programs have creatively worked to meet with clients and community partners. By hosting virtual resource fairs, making educational videos or meeting with clients over the phone or Zoom, engagement continued throughout the pandemic.

Prevention and community health are still the best medicine, and COVID-19 has proved that more than ever. Many of SJBPH’s programs aim to give children and young families healthy starts in life so that they are less likely to suffer from chronic disease later on. These are the very same chronic diseases that COVID-19 took advantage of as it spread through communities. Rather than wait until people are sick or injured to begin treating them, SJBPH aims to both improve our lives and save us money with programs that include:

  • Nutritious food, healthy eating advice, breastfeeding support and health referrals for eligible women, infants and children.
  • Free, voluntary service that supports families in gaining additional skills to provide a safe home, address child health needs and engage in positive interactions with their children ages 5 and younger.
  • Promoting positive youth development, improving outcomes and reducing problem behaviors among youths such as substance use disorder or suicide.
  • Clinical care for priority populations including specialty care for children, cancer screenings, HIV/STI screenings and prevention.
  • Assistance accessing health insurance and health care with patient navigators and care coordinators.
  • Consumer protection services including safe restaurants and healthy households by performing inspections, investigations and enforcing compliance with state laws and regulations.
  • Protecting and monitoring our air and water quality.

We encourage community members who would like to learn more about these programs to join us for a Virtual Resource Fair at noon July 23. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be provided. The Virtual Resource Fair will take place on Zoom and participants can join with this link: https://bit.ly/3x0SNnE

If you cannot attend the virtual resource fair, more information about SJBPH programs and services can be found on our website https://sjbpublichealth.org or by calling 335-2002

Kalisha Crossland is Prevention and Population Health director at San Juan Basin Public Health.