Sharing services and ideas
to improve health outcomes and achieve health equity
in the San Luis Valley
Alamosa County Public Health Department
Silver Thread Public Health Agency on behalf of Mineral County
Rio Grande Public Health Agency
Costilla County Public Health Agency
Conejos County Public Health and Nursing Service
Saguache County Public Health Department
We Are Your Local Public Health Agencies
We care about your health!
Your local public health department works hard to improve people’s lives on a large scale. While your doctor or nurse helps YOU improve your health, we work to help EVERYONE improve their health.
We do this by managing programs to keep you and your environment safe. We work to protect the food you eat at restaurants and your children at schools and child care through immunization programs. We plan how to help you and keep you safe during and after a disaster. We teach you how to manage chronic disease such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
We work with other local and state organizations to coordinate programs and services. Property taxes pay for some of our basic programs and facilities. We are funded substantially through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and also through grants for specific programs from state and federal agencies and non-profit organizations.
The San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership (SLVPHP) is a coalition of the region’s six local public health directors. The mission is to collaborate to develop and sustain public health systems to improve health outcomes throughout the San Luis Valley.
The partnership also serves as a forum for exchanging information, sharing ideas and evaluating opportunities. Working together when it makes sense to do so has increased our capacity for public health work while maintaining local staff to address core service and unique local needs.
A full-time coordinator is funded through chronic disease implementation funding and the State Innovation Model (SIM) behavioral health integration project. The coordinator position expands our capacity to work with community partners and to look upstream to address deeply-rooted health equity issues.
SLVPHP partner agencies share many services and functions, including:
- Emergency preparedness and response planning and staff
- Epidemiology including the investigation of salmonella, rabies, and food-borne illnesses
- Child fatality reviews to develop prevention strategies
- Behavioral health integration work and stigma reduction
- Tobacco and suicide prevention activities
- Breastfeeding Coalition
- Regional environmental health program (retail food safety, air and water quality, etc.)
The San Luis Valley (SLV) is a six-county rural, intermountain valley in south central Colorado with approximately 47,000 residents in a land area the size of Connecticut (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018). Three of the six counties are designated as frontier with fewer than six people per square mile.
The SLVPHP is comprised of the following public health departments; Alamosa County Public Health Department, Conejos County Public Health and Nursing Service, Costilla County Public Health Agency, Silver Thread Public Health District on behalf of Mineral County, Rio Grande County Public Health Agency, Saguache County Public Health Department.
SLV residents have higher rates of chronic disease, obesity, poverty, and lack of education than for the state overall (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Health Statistics Section, 2012). The SLV is identified as a Health Professional Shortage Area and a Medically Underserved Area.
The Valley economy relies on agriculture, tourism and local services. About half of residents are Hispanic and half are non-Hispanic white. The median annual income remains below state and national averages, with 29 to 45 percent of children living in poverty in five of the six counties (American Community Survey).
Each county in the SLV Partnership houses a single county public health agency governed by a board of health with members – elected officials (County Commissioners) – designated by statute. The Rio Grande County Board of Health also includes representatives from Del Norte, Monte Vista and South Fork.