Rio Grande County Public Health Department gears up for Public Health Week

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — It is an exciting year for Rio Grande County as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary. One of the first things the county plans to do is to celebrate National Public Health Week at the beginning of April.

In 2022, Rio Grande County passed a proclamation designating the first full week in April as National Public Health Week to shine a light on the communities of Rio Grande County and on the work and dedication the public health department puts into the communities they serve.

The proclamation was an announcement of a National Public Health Appreciation week for all the time and effort public health professionals have put in to ensure that local communities stay safe and healthy. Throughout the past several years, nurses, medical professionals and public health officials have worked countless hours to make sure communities were safe and healthy through programs that included COVID prevention, tobacco prevention, general vaccination and much more.

The proclamation states, “Since 1995, the American Public Health Association, through its sponsorship of National Public Health Week, has educated the public, policymakers and public health professionals about issues important to improving the public’s health; and U.S. life expectancy dropped from 2014 to 2017 in the longest sustained decline since the Great Recession and only in 2018 began to increase again; U.S life expectancy then dropped again in 2020 by a full year, which is the largest drop in life expectancy since 1943.”

According to the American Public Health Association, this year, the focus will be on equality and inclusion.

“This year we are ‘Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health’ to ensure everyone, in all cultural communities, has a chance at a long and healthy life. To do so, we must address and prevent the underlying causes of poor health and disease risk. We can use social determinants of health to understand how those causes are different for each person based on various factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and financial situation.”

The Rio Grande County Public Health Department plans to integrate this year’s focus into the celebration of Rio Grande County’s 150th anniversary celebration and share the importance of public health within communities throughout the nation.

The department recently announced the launch of a new international program that is now available to the public along with all the other programs it offers.

“We are thrilled to introduce our latest initiative — the International Travel Clinic! As part of our ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of our county, this program is designed to ensure that persons embark on their international journeys fully prepared. It is designed to provide you with comprehensive health services and information before, during, and after your international travels,” said Rio Grande County Public Health Director Dr. Kolawole Bankole.

The International Travel Clinic offers:

  • Immunizations and Vaccinations: Receive expert advice on essential vaccinations tailored to your travel destination. Pre-travel consultations with travel health experts. Vaccinations and prescriptions for travel-related illnesses.
  • Health Tips: Get personalized health tips to stay well during your trip and return with fond memories. Travel health education and resources.
  • Travel Safety Information: Access valuable resources to enhance your safety awareness while abroad.
  • Post-travel follow-up and care

Whether a person is traveling for work, leisure, or humanitarian purposes, the International Travel Clinic can help them prepare for a safe and healthy trip. Visit the RGC Public Health office's clinic at the courthouse in Del Norte or call 719-657-3352 to schedule a consultation.

The department is working on the details for this year’s Public Health Week and will be sharing dates, times and activities as they become available. For more information or to stay up to date on coming activities and programs, visit www.riograndecounty.org/publichealth