DENVER, Sept. 11 Following a process set in motion by Gov. Bill Ritter's signing of Senate Bill 194 in June, Colorado public health officials will gather at the Colorado Public Health Summit: From Vision to Action, December 1-2, 2008, at the Marriott Denver West, 1717 Denver West Boulevard in Golden. The Summit will be co-hosted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/), the Public Health Alliance of Colorado (http://www.publichealthalliance.org/) and the Caring for Colorado Foundation (http://www.caringforcolorado.org/).
Senate Bill 194, the Colorado Public Health Reauthorization Act, requires identified boards, agencies, and public officials to collaboratively develop state and local public health plans that set priorities for the public health system in Colorado. The primary purpose of the Act is to assure that core public health services are available to every person in Colorado.
The Summit will convene health professionals to begin the process of developing the state public health improvement plan required by the Act. Groundwork for this process was laid in 2007 when a series of meetings were held across the state to begin identifying gaps and barriers to providing essential public health services. The meetings were sponsored through a partnership of the same organizations hosting this summit.
Under SB194, each county must establish - or be part of - a local or district public health agency organized under a local/district board of health with a public health director and other staff necessary to provide public health services. In addition, the state of Colorado must have a comprehensive public health plan by Dec, 31, 2009, that outlines how quality public health services will be provided.
Colorado is one of several states nationwide revamping its public health system, in part recognizing the evolution of issues that challenge the public health workforce. Today's public health issues include the safety of food and water, emerging diseases such as West Nile Virus, obesity and childhood immunizations.
Online registration for the Summit will begin in mid-September on the Public Health Alliance website, www.publichealthalliance.org. Public health directors, public health nurses, environmental health directors, other public and environmental health professionals, public health partners, county commissioners, other elected officials and representatives of other public health stakeholder groups are encouraged to attend.
About the hosts: The Caring for Colorado Foundation is a non profit, health grant-making foundation focused on improving the health and health care of the people of the Colorado. The Foundation places an emphasis on strengthening the existing health care system, building additional capacity within that system and finding ways to link people to care. Contact: Renee Rockford, Director of Communication, 720-524-0770.
The Public Health Alliance of Colorado is a collaborative of ten public health organizations joining together to share resources, administrative support, and communications. The mission of the Alliance is to strengthen public health in Colorado by building capacity within the participating organizations as well as connecting its members. Contact: Amanda Bosworth Hensley, Communications Coordinator, Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, 303-861-4995.
The mission of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is to protect and improve the health of Colorado's people and the quality of its environment. The department works closely with local public health and environmental health partners toward its mission of making Colorado the healthiest place to live. Contact: Mark Salley, Deputy Director, Communications, 303-692-2028.