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Ensuring the best health possible takes everyone, said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health’s (JCPH) executive director.
“We can’t do it by ourselves,” he said. “It takes all of us in the community.”
To celebrate National Public Health Week, April 2-8, JCPH recognized the 2017 Public Health Champions of the Year on April 4.
The public health champions awards started more than 20 years ago to recognize people in the community who help to everyone in the county achieve the best health possible, even though public health isn’t their primary profession.
Six public health champion awards were given out at the event, hosted by JCPH, the Jefferson County Board of Health and the county commissioners.
These champions are individuals, groups and organizations across many Jeffco communities and sectors, Johnson said.
“It takes all sectors working together to truly make a difference,” he said.
2017 Public Health Champions of the Year
Health champ: Alicia Gross
Recognized for: Implementing the Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada.
Teen MOPS gives young mothers an opportunity to meet in a safe, positive environment and engage in discussions on topics important to them — with a goal to help young women raise healthy and thriving children.
Health champ: Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market in Wheat Ridge
Recognized for: Accepting SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as food stamps, as well as the Double Up Food Bucks program.
By accepting SNAP, Four Seasons, owned by Dick and Margaret Barkey and managed by Rosalind May, created an inclusive communal space where SNAP participants can feel welcomed and valued, and are empowered to eat more healthy, local produce.
Health champ: Michael Klazura, general manager of the Belmar Olive Garden in Lakewood
Recognized for: Going above and beyond to ensure the restaurant he manages receives regular food safety education, in English and Spanish, and that staff adheres to safe practices that protect the public’s health every day.
Klazura’s Olive Garden has partnered with Jefferson County Public Health’s food safety inspectors to provide to bi-annual food safety education to Olive Gardens throughout the entire county.
Health champ: Alexis Moore, city planner for the City of Lakewood
Recognized for: Helping develop the 40 West Arts District and forming a partnership with Mountair Park Community Farm to help residents access healthy foods through food donation programs and free local food shares.
The 40 West Arts District is an area full of interactive art, murals and walking trails which improves the quality of life for residents in West Colfax and surrounding neighborhoods.
Health champ: Monica Buhlig, St. Anthony Hospital/Centura Health and Chuck Ault, Lutheran Medical Center/SCL Health
Recognized for: Working with Jefferson County Public Health to develop a joint Community Health Needs Assessment for Jefferson County.
The partnership helped identify innovative ways to collaborate across public/private sectors, reduce duplication of efforts and build increased momentum and capacity to achieve shared success in community health improvement.
Health champ: David Kollar, Jeffco Public Schools
Recognized for: Being an integral partner in the development of Jefferson County Communities That Care (CTC), a structured, evidence-based community change process focused on preventing youth substance abuse, violence and depression.
Kollar is a long-time partner with Jefferson County Public Health, and as co-chair of the CTC Community Board, he represents the youth voice and helps engage students in the CTC process.
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