During the week honoring public health efforts nationwide, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) announces the launch of their Community Health Assessment (CHA). As a result of the Colorado Public Health Act of 2008, SJBPH is required to collect health data and input from community members and stakeholders and to create a Community Health Assessment (CHA) for Archuleta and La Plata counties. With completion in 2012 of its first assessment, SJBPH then created a five-year Public Health Improvement Plan (PHIP), which was approved by the Board of Health in December 2013.

The theme for this year’s National Public Health Week is Healthiest Nation 2030. SJBPH will simultaneously work towards this future goal as it initiates its five year assessment and planning process, as well as look to the past to acknowledge the significant impacts public health has had on life expectancy in our nation.

Over the last 200 years, U.S. life expectancy has more than doubled to almost 80 years, with vast improvements in health and quality of life, due to public health initiatives such as control of infectious diseases, more abundant and safer foods, cleaner water, and other nonmedical social improvements. The importance of highlighting public health’s role in extending life and improving health is crucial especially in relation to the creation of public health policy, since public health initiatives are often underfunded compared to medical healthcare expenditures.

SJBPH has launched its next CHA with the goal of completing the process and releasing its Public Health Improvement Plan in 2018. The CHA will include numerous engagement opportunities for local community members to provide feedback on public health issues and policy.

SJBPH will publicize opportunities for engagement on its website and through a variety of local media outlets and networks, and encourages local community members to participate in the process of identifying and prioritizing public health issues and concerns. Visit the APC program page for more information and ways to participate in the CHA.