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Your health matters and so does your voice: Weigh in on community health

Adrian Uzunian

Every five years, public health agencies in Colorado conduct a community health assessment to find out what public and environmental health priorities are important to community residents, and then uses the input gathered to craft a public health improvement plan that guides the public health programs and services agencies provide for the ensuing five years. San Juan Basin Public Health has launched its 2023 community health assessment, and this year’s effort to gain input is more important than ever.

Archuleta and La Plata counties are in the process of standing up individual health departments at each county beginning Jan. 1, 2024, and dissolving the health district that has jointly served both counties for nearly 70 years. The community health assessment provides a unique opportunity for the counties to hear from residents, community leaders and stakeholders what public and environmental health issues are most important to them – information that will be invaluable to informing the programs and services each county will offer through their new health departments.

“We urge residents to take the community health assessment survey and pass it along to friends and family. Public health relies on participation, and this is a great opportunity to share your input about health priorities and the state of community health in La Plata and Archuleta counties,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH’s executive director. “The survey is easy to fill out and anonymous. Not only will the results inform public health programs and services in the years to come, but they are also shared with organizations and government agencies across the region to help guide their planning as well.”

In addition to the survey, SJBPH will hold informal focus groups and key informant interviews throughout the jurisdiction to discuss public health and wellness indicators with targeted populations. The assessment results will be used to develop a public health improvement plan that outlines the policies, programs and services that will be used to address the priorities identified through the survey, interviews and focus groups. The process is community-driven and community-oriented: Your voice matters!

Please take a few minutes to weigh in on these important issues for yourself, your family and your community. SJBPH is committed to improving and protecting public and environmental health in the communities we serve, and hearing your voice is an essential element in determining how we deliver on that commitment – through 2023 as an independent public health district, and in supporting both Archuleta and La Plata counties as they prepare to take on their own public health functions beginning next year.

SJBPH’s survey is open through April 7 to any Archuleta or La Plata County resident and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous. Find the survey (in English and Spanish) and more information at https://sjbpublichealth.org/healthassessment. To receive a paper version of this survey, please call SJBPH at 247-5702 in La Plata County or 264-2409 in Archuleta County.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact CHAsurvey@sjbpublichealth.org.

Adrian Uzunian is director of assessment and planning at San Juan Basin Public Health. Reach him at auzunian@sjbpublichealth.org.