Guest Column: How can we make RBC the healthiest county in Colorado?

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By Julie Drake
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | My children got me started playing the online game “Clash of Clans” recently. While I find it entertaining when I have time to kill, I am terrible at it. I like having a pretty “Town Hall,” but don’t care about great artillery and secure walls. Subsequently, I get attacked a lot. Other players probably see attacking my clan as a winnable battle.
A winnable battle, how enticing. You’re assured easy success, right? Maybe in Clash of Clans, but not in the game of public health. Public health battles are long, arduous, fatiguing battles where battle lines constantly change. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment set forth 10 Winnable Battles for the local public health agencies back in 2012. These, in addition to our clear core functions, help public health staff stay task focused and good stewards of public funds.
Colorado’s 10 Winnable Battles are ones with known, effective artillery for promotion or prevention. Promote healthier air and clean water, prevent infectious disease, prevent injuries, promote mental health and reduce substance abuse, prevent and address obesity, promote oral health, insure safe food, reduce tobacco usage, and prevent unintended pregnancy. In addition, public health agencies do regular, systematic collection of information on the communities health, assure services necessary to achieve health goals are available to all the population (by encouraging others to provide them or by providing services directly), and develop smart policies, rules and laws that serve the health interests of the whole community.
With all these battles, we must mobilize community partners. A diversified army with a variety of weapons works best in battle. All citizens of Rio Blanco County are partners in achieving the goal of a healthy community and winning these named battles. I will soon be asking you, local boards, clubs and businesses for your ideas, information and help in making Rio Blanco County not only the best place to live in Colorado, but the healthiest as we conduct a community health assessment and develop strategy for our local war.
In the meantime, stay healthy!

Julie Drake is the Public Health Director for Rio Blanco County.